Julia Clugston – AVCAT Alumni

I was fortunate enough to receive the AVCAT Long Tan Bursary after being encouraged to apply by my secondary school teachers. With this scholarship, I was able to see myself off to university in Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Professional Writing and Editing.

By Julia Clugston

My father served Australia in the Vietnam War. A time, and a place that we don’t think of lightly. Although he has shared some things with me over time, there is still so much there that is missing. When coming on board with AVCAT, it has been a journey of emotions to read and hear about other people’s relationships with this war, their parents, grandparents or great grandparents serving for our country. The effects of which, are still being felt even as the generations pass by. There are so many stories to hear, so many memories (both good and bad) to share, and so much connection to our land and families to be felt.

During my third year of studying, AVCAT reached out to see if I was interested in being mentored by someone, perhaps with similar interests, lifestyle, degree. I took this opportunity because I knew it was a great chance to make a new friend or learn some new skills. And I am so glad I did.

I was paired with Elisabeth from Townsville! Now, I’m based in a small town in rural Victoria, so this was both exciting and unnerving to be meeting someone from nearly the top end of Australia (how cool are connections and social media!!)

Elisabeth and I share an interest in writing, she was a working journalist whilst I was studying to be one! As a typical third-year student who was looking to graduate at the end of the year was thinking ‘jobs, career, jobs’. Elisabeth came to the rescue to help with all things great and small to do with me applying for and seeking jobs. Showing me a world I didn’t realise existed. I was quite narrow-minded in what I thought about writing and she opened doors for me.

Elisabeth and I were in different time zones for a while and so one night we both were up late (me later than her) editing a piece of work I had to submit for my class THAT night. To say she is a legend is an understatement.

With all her help, I was able to land a dream graduate role with Parks Victoria.  I am now working as a ranger in the beautiful Grampians National Park. Although I hope to return to journalism and writing one day; I am enjoying stretching my legs after being online for two years straight and enjoying seeing so many beautiful sights every day.

One day, I hope to visit Elisabeth in Townsville, because that would be so damn cool.

I am so thankful for AVCAT bringing Elisabeth into my sphere, suddenly making the world seem even smaller. It’s a connection I am very grateful for.

To our veterans, our current army and our future. Also, to those that are binding us together, I thank you.

Julia was awarded the Long Tan Bursary in 2019, she has now graduated.

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