Chelsea Harrington has been studying online with CQUniversity since 2016. She began her Bachelor of Psychological Science as a mature aged student at the age of 29.
Skip ahead to 2020, with only two subjects to complete before she graduates we asked Chelsea to share why she is grateful for the opportunity to receive a scholarship.
Keep reading to find out about Chelsea’s journey and the importance of applying for scholarships.
My story is not much different to anyone else’s as we all have the worries and financial burdens of everyday life. As a student, it is not always easy to juggle a part-time job and study. Especially when you have weekly textbook readings, assignments due every week and then to top it all off you have your final exams. However, I am not just a Uni student. I am also a person with a disability who lives in rural Queensland with a family that relies on me.
I was born with multiple congenital deformities affecting all four of my limbs. The doctors told my parents that it would be highly likely that I would never be able to walk due to the severity of the deformities. After 100’s of operations, I started to walk when I was 3.
Ever since I was little, I have aimed to prove that I was able to do everything everyone else could do. Although my disability does not define who I am, it has helped shaped me into the person I am today.
Growing up in a small rural country town in Queensland, I always saw myself like every other child, and my parents encouraged me to give everything a go. I was highly determined and competitive, and I excelled at just about everything I ever did.
In 2000 I was nominated and selected to run the Olympic torch through Warwick, which at the age of 13 was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had.
During high school, my life revolved around sports. I participated in every sport available to me, making it to state selection trials for athletics, cross-country, swimming and triathlons. I was selected to represent Queensland in swimming.
I was the first person with a disability to proceed to a national level in triathlons but I was unable to represent Queensland as there were no other disabled competitors for me to compete against.
After I retired from swimming in 2006, I participated in a sitting volleyball program. I was selected to be on the Australian women’s sitting volleyball team at the end of 2006. The Australian sitting volleyball team know as the sitting ducks went to china in 2007 to compete at the Asia-pacific selection trials for the Para-Olympic games. Unfortunately, when we competed in 2007, the Australian team was not strong enough to qualify for the Para-Olympic games. Then in 2008 due to lack of government funding the sitting volleyball association folded.
In 2009 I became a mum. My focus was on being the best mum I could be. Over the last 20 years, I have played, coached, and volunteered my time with many sports clubs, helping to promote disabilities in sports.
Since 2014 when my daughter started school, studying has also been my focus. My career goal and ultimately, my dream job is to become a sports psychologist. I aim to provide services to those in regional, rural and remote locations Australia that was not accessible to me when I was competing. Not only with athletes with disabilities, but their families and their communities.
Why should you apply for a scholarship?
Every year since 2016, when I started studying with CQUniversity, I have applied for scholarships, and thankfully every year I have received a one. I remember back in 2016 when I first applied for a scholarship I nervously checked my emails every day.
After a few emails back and forth from the scholarships team about the information I missed during my application, the day finally came. The initial feelings of shock and astonishment overwhelmed me when I received the acceptance email.
The email stated I was going to receive the Equity Kick Start Bursary, which was a $500 bookshop voucher. I was also going to receive the Equity Study Supplement, which was split into several payments throughout the year.
After realising how much the scholarship was going to help me achieve my goals, the initial shock and astonishment soon turned into relief, excitement, and happiness.
Receiving a scholarship made me realise I didn’t have to try and scrape together the money for textbooks I needed for my first year. I could financially prepare myself for the year ahead. I didn’t have that extra level of stress during my first year of study.
Every year since 2016 I have religiously checked the scholarships page and made sure I applied for any of the scholarships that might apply to me.
In 2017, 2018 and 2019, the scholarship money I received helped me pay for accommodation and travel fees for residential schools in Rockhampton (2017 and 2018) and Brisbane (2019).
This year was different. 2020 has been challenging for everyone. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have had our difficulties. However, we have made it through.
As I had to home school my daughter during the first semester, I had to withdraw from my study. Which ultimately meant that I forfeited my scholarship.
I applied for Term 2 Scholarships as soon as they opened. When the scholarships team emailed me stating that the 2020 CQUniCares Launch Scholarship I forfeited was going to be reinstated, I had instant relief.
The scholarship included $500 worth of Woolworths gift vouchers, which when feeding a family any little bit helps. I also used some of the money to upgrade my computer. Because, while homeschooling my daughter during the first semester, my laptop died.
The money I received also helped me pay for textbooks and to purchase a mandatory computer program which I needed for one of my core subjects. Without receiving the scholarship in the second semester, I would have struggled.
As I know firsthand how helpful receiving a scholarship can be. I am currently working towards my application for a scholarship for term 1 2021.
It is definitely worth applying for a scholarship, even for one semester. Even though 2021 is the last year of study, receiving a scholarship will still help me achieve my goals.
CQUniversity is proud to offer scholarships for every study area, study level and citizenship. Receiving a scholarship not only looks good on your resume but may open the door to more benefits and opportunities, such as industry contacts and work experience.
I strongly encourage everyone, no matter who you are to apply for a scholarship. Scholarships have helped me significantly over the years. I will be forever grateful for CQUni and the scholarship opportunities.
Term 1 2021 Applications close on 08 January. Take this opportunity to apply now!
To apply for CQUniversity scholarships, complete the form that applies to you:
- CQUniversity Scholarships Application Form
- Indigenous Commonwealth Scholarship Application
- VET Scholarships Application Form
You will then be considered for all CQUniversity scholarships for which you are eligible.
We also recommend that you consider the range of external scholarships and bursaries that are available. To apply for an external scholarship or bursary, visit www.cqu.edu.au/scholarships and refer to the Apply Now section for instructions.
Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a financial boost. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the scholarships team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Chelsea Harrington