'Never give up hope' on achieving university dream
CQUNIVERSITY Rockhampton graduate Tiffany Brown has credited her mum's determination in life as being a constant source of inspiration.
Ms Brown's family has faced a number of financial challenges over the years but her mum has not once lost hope.
"My mother Shirley was hit by a truck when she was six years old and left paralysed on one side," Ms Brown said.
"She was told by doctors she could not do many things in her life, including have children, but her determination has shown me you can do anything if you're passionate."
Shirley Brown went on to have five children and the family has survived and thrived on a single income.
Ms Brown, who was the third child in her family to study at university, said two of her sisters didn't because they couldn't see a way to afford it .
"They got full time jobs straight away - they couldn't see any other option I guess," she said.
"There is always help out there.
"You wouldn't think that there is so much out there, and you may be looking at all these scholarships and thinking I won't get it or it's not going to be me, but if you try for every single one you will definitely get something. It's worth trying.
"Never give up hope. If you're passionate enough about it, you will make it."
It was thanks to an Iwasaki Foundation tertiary education bursary, worth $30,000 over three years, that enabled Ms Brown to follow her dreams and complete a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Water Management) with Distinction.
"It was my childhood dream to study marine biology, but I found jobs were limited in Australia so I looked more broadly," she said.
"The Iwasaki Bursary helped seal my decision to study locally once I found the opportunities with the Environmental Science degree.
"For those with no other financial support options, like myself, the balancing act between work and university is greatly increased and negatively impacts their potential.
"So many people see the financial challenges of going to university as impassable.
"The directors of Iwasaki Foundation recognise this challenge and offer a generous solution to those hardworking, financially disadvantaged students."
Ms Brown said the key to striving at university is to believe in yourself and put 100 per cent into the experience.
"You will always wonder 'am I even going to get through this term', but by the end of it you will look back and wonder where all the time went," she said.
"I personally found that by going into the university itself, going to the library and studying with friends, I got the most out of it as opposed to trying to do it all online. It was a much better experience going in and doing it with people.
"It goes so quickly, so enjoy it."
Ms Brown is now working as a CQUni research assistant at Central Queensland Innovation and Research Precinct (CQIRP) with a focus on helping coal mines with water quality assurance.
She has arranged a summer scholarship to kickstart her Honours research to pinpoint where micro-plastics tend to float in the ocean - near the surface, in deeper water or near the bottom.
"I will be visiting Gladstone over summer to start field measurements using a plankton scoop in the harbour," she said.
"Knowing the location of micro-plastics is an important stage in cleaning them up."
Ms Brown said she is loving the idea of a research workforce and getting into the business early has driven her to continue down this path.
CQUniversity cost breakdown
- Students doing one of the more straight-forward degree pathways, such as the Bachelor of Business, could expect to pay around $33,700 but deferrable for Australian students using HECS-HELP and SA-HELP.
- Students looking at a degree such as Bachelor of Business, which does not have extra costs associated with uniforms, the Bookshop suggests a budget around $2800 across the three years for textbook costs.
- On-campus accommodation costs range from around $20,000 across a three-year degree (assuming studying from home on-line during the summer terms, BYO Linen and in a standard self-catered room).