By Caitlin Kearney
Hello! My name is Caitlin Kearney and I’m honoured to be one of the 2020 AVCAT RSL Queensland scholarship recipients.
Several generations of my family have served the Australian Defence Forces. In fact, currently my generation is the only generation that hasn’t gone on to serve – something I’m grateful has been possible due to the sacrifices of my ancestors and those like them.
I have always been humbled by the circumstances past generations dealt with throughout their very different eras of service and war. Both of my parents are veterans – my father only discharged from full-time RAAF service in the last few years, while my mother discharged from the Army back when I was a child. Being a ‘military brat’ is a very different experience than a lot of my friends had; some had only lived in the town they were born in – what a thought!
My academic journey has been a longer one than most. My first degree was a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences but after much thought about how I wanted to serve in my own way upon completing that degree I jumped feet first into my current degree – a Bachelor of Education (Secondary). I remember all too well how it felt changing schools as a kid (and back then entire systems of education) and decided that I wanted to be the teacher that helped in the important way my teachers helped me.
I’d never looked at a scholarship before. I was quite lucky in that my situation was relatively stable, supported, and I had frequent enough work. However, as I headed into the final 18mnths of my degree I found myself contemplating some great opportunities that would severely cut back how much time I had for casual work. The opportunities were to grow my teaching experience and ready myself for my career.
My father put me on to AVCAT, having heard of it during his work. It was the best thing that could have happened headed into as wild a year as 2020 has been. I can’t thank AVCAT and RSL Queensland enough for the support this scholarship has provided to me in one of the hardest years we’ve had. It has enabled me to continue to improve myself, my prospects, and take care of my mental health at a time when that has been exceedingly difficult.
Caitlin was awarded the AVCAT RSL Queensland Scholarship in 2020.