How little girl Scarlett drives Luke’s degree dream

Psychological Science student Luke Jones and daughter Scarlett.
Psychological Science student Luke Jones and daughter Scarlett.

To say Bachelor of Psychological Science student Luke Jones has brought a wealth of life experience to the university classroom borders on understatement. Luke (25), who starts the second year of his degree with a GPA of seven, has already dealt with being homeless as a teen and becoming a single father at the age of 19.

Once his daughter Scarlett started Prep, Luke rediscovered his own “intrinsic motivation” to renew his interrupted education journey. He had started a psychology degree in his native Tasmania when he was 17 but was not able to progress it due to the challenges life put in front of him.

“I grew up on the streets from the age of 12 to 18. I slept in parks mostly which was hard. Most nights I just didn’t sleep,” Luke says. “My daughter lost her mother from her life when she was one. I had a pretty full on experience of fatherhood. I haven’t had a night off in four years, but I love Scarlett and every part of being a Dad. We make a great team.”

Scarlett proved the inspiration that drove Luke back to a university education and at Griffith University he found an avenue into a degree he is passionate about. After his first year he has refined his focus towards child psychology. He studies with a framed photo of his little girl beside him.

“I’ve received great support from Griffith, especially through disability services which helped me deal with PTSD and studying full-time,” Luke says. “My teachers are very passionate about their subjects and make the learning experience very applicable to life. I’ve had a pretty complicated life so far. I’ve been told by teachers that this kind of first-hand experience can be very useful as a psychologist to connect and communicate with people.

“I hope to use all the bad experiences in my life to try and ensure children don’t have similar experiences to some of mine.”

Griffith unveiled a new alternative pathway into university in 2018. Through the Griffith Personal Statement, students who do not satisfy the minimum Selection Rank or who do not have subject pre-requisites for entry can explore an alternative avenue. This invitation-only admission pathway means students may be admitted to selected Griffith degrees on the basis of their personal and/or professional experiences.