By Tessa Lucas
I was brought up on stories of the Australian Defence Force. Both my grandfathers, Grumpy and Poppy, are veterans. My Grumpy, Charlie, served in Korea with the Royal Australian Air Force and my Poppy, Ron, served in Malaya with the Australian Army. It was only natural that I would develop a passion for history as I got older.
I stressed during year 12 because everyone else seemed to know exactly what they wanted to study or do in the future. I had no idea. I was stumped. I wanted to go to university and study English, or history, but I did not see myself getting a career out of it. I didn’t realise how wrong I was.
I went to the University of Canberra open day in 2017 and on a whim I attended an information session for the Bachelor of Museums, Heritage and Conservation. That’s when I decided what I wanted to do. I wanted to work in the heritage industry, as a conservator.
A few months later I was offered a place at the University of Canberra. I deferred, taking a gap year in 2018.
I’m glad I took a gap year because I truly realised just how expensive life is when I moved to Canberra in 2019. My course had been altered so I was doing the new version, Bachelor of Arts (Culture & Heritage). I’m now in my second year and I still love my degree.
My AVCA TPI NSW scholarship is a big honour for me and my family. It has been a life saver in many ways. Studying arts means a lot of reading and I began to struggle with my eyes. Without my scholarship, I would not have been able to afford glasses. I noticed a difference in my grades after I got my glasses.
Conservation course in 2019, practicing tape removal
I used my scholarship last year for a day course in paper conservation, which was incredibly fascinating. Without the help of my scholarship, I would not have been able to afford to go.
I applied for a job last year at a national institution, out of curiosity, to see how I would go. Several interviews later, I was hired as an education assistant at the Australian War Memorial. I love my job. I take school groups and teach them stories of the people the memorial represents.
My AVCAT TPI NSW scholarship has been a massive financial help during COVID-19. With national institutions closed, including the Australian War Memorial, I am not working, and I probably won’t be for a while yet. My scholarship has made balancing life and study easier, which I am incredibly grateful for.
Tessa was awarded an AVCAT TPI NSW Scholarship in 2019.