After six years in the Australian army, Matt Sharp is thriving at university.
As a rifleman, Matt completed deployments in East Timor in 2010 and Afghanistan in 2012. Today, Matt admits he is still adjusting to his new life as a Criminology and Laws double degree student at Griffith.
Even so, Matt continues to be served well by the qualities that in Afghanistan saw him commended for conduct and leadership. Last year, Matt received the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice 2013 Undergraduate Book Prize for Excellence in Academic Achievement.
He also has the opportunity to apply to study law at the City University of Hong Kong later this year. Not bad for a fellow who failed to complete Year 10, dropped out of an apprenticeship and found his fair share of teenage strife.
“I never really had an education. My dad works for the Department of Foreign Affairs and we were posted all over the world when I was a kid,” says Matt. “I went to international schools in Kuala Lumpur, Poland and Jakarta before we came back to Canberra when I was 14. I struggled to fit in. I didn’t really have an aim in life and couldn’t find my way.” Matt said.
“The army was good for me. It taught me discipline and gave me a purpose.” Eventually, however, another truth began to dawn on Matt. “As the rotations to Afghanistan were being reduced, I realised that it was the perfect time to leave the army to try to obtain the education I’d never had.”
Matt, 27, began his Criminology and Criminal Justice degree in 2013 and added Laws halfway through that year.
Matt admits that studying a double degree is no small feat but he believes that when you know more, you can do more.