First in family scholarship helps Monique soar

First in family scholarship helps Monique soar

“If it wasn’t for the scholarship I would not have been able to afford to do a double degree including Law. Being able to do the double degree has provided me with a vision for what I want to do in this world. I want to be a diplomat. I love culture and want to help people.”

Monique Gray is the first in her family to go to university. She is studying a double degree in Social Science and Law with a major in Social Justice.

As a “chatterbox and a bit of troublemaker” in her early high school days, she had no aspirations to go to university. Many of her peers planned university careers because it was expected of them and she didn’t want to follow the crowd, believing there were other pathways to achieve her ambitions.

In Year 11, she started thinking about further education when she was able to choose subjects she was passionate about, like Society and Culture and PDHPE. Her major work in Year 12 “The Need for Greater Cultural Understanding Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians” sparked her desire to learn more about other cultures. She took part in a youth exchange program at an aboriginal community in Brewarrina in Northern NSW and volunteered through Global Volunteers Network at an orphanage in Vietnam.

She took a gap year after school, volunteering for six months in Mexico and then attending a five-month Mission School program through her church which took her to both Paris and Cambodia.

Monique describes how her travelling through volunteering influenced her decisions about the path she has chosen. Having had a negative experience of the legal system during a school excursion to the law courts, she discounted studying law despite friends and family telling her she would make a great lawyer.

“It’s hard to describe, but I always had an affinity for Macquarie University. I just knew it was for me. Is it lame to say it’s because of the vibe?” says Monique on why she applied in Year 12 to study Social Sciences through the Global Leadership Early Entry Program. She was accepted, but after her gap year she realised that she also wanted to study Law.

“Doing a double degree was so much more expensive so I researched scholarships. The Alumni First in Family Scholarship described me and my situation so accurately.”

The scholarship helped ease the financial burden especially after experiencing hardship in the months leading up to the beginning of her degree. Adding Law to her initial offering has enabled Monique to realise her aspirations.

Monique is only beginning her university career yet already understands the importance of scholarships and the ripple effect caused.

“I would say to someone thinking about donating to scholarships that even a small amount of money can have such a huge impact – because not only are you helping an individual but you are making an incredible difference in affecting other lives because of what that individual could achieve through helping others through their education.”

Not only will the scholarship help Monique as she strives for her goals in life through her degree, but it has allowed Monique to begin a tradition with Macquarie University and tertiary education in her family, that will continue for generations.

Content owner: Advancement Last updated: 11 Jun 2019 1:58pm

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