COVID-19 has created a truly unparalleled situation which continues to affect us all.
Students suffered the impact of COVID-19 greatly. With some losing part-time work hours, others feeling isolated from family members while studying away from home and all students having to make the move to studying online.
In a bid to support students, Griffith University created the COVID-19 Student Support Bursary package. The bursary provided up to $1,500 to assist students under significant financial hardship, providing cover for study and personal expenses such as food, rent and medical needs. All enrolled domestic and international students who fit the criteria were encouraged to apply.
Over the past few weeks, the heartfelt thanks from students to donors has been overwhelming, with stories of perseverance and resilience a common theme throughout.
Brittany Williams had just started her first year of study just weeks before COVID-19 struck. The 26-year-old relocated to the Gold Coast from the Central Coast of NSW by herself, to pursue her dream of studying a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. When Brittany was 17, she was diagnosed with several health issues, which made moving interstate to be more independent even more challenging.
“I had just made the big change of moving interstate on my own, to begin my degree at Griffith. As a person with a disability, this was a monumental leap of faith both personally and financially. But I did it, all the while battling carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my wrists, which made it difficult to seek employment in my trade of beauty therapy.
“When COVID-19 struck, I had little hope of gaining employment in the beauty industry, and the bills piled up to the point where I had to seriously consider my options,” Brittany said.
Determined to continue her studies and stay living on the Gold Coast, Brittany came across the COVID-19 Student Support Bursary and applied immediately.
“When I found out that I had received a bursary I was elated.
“I was so grateful to the donors and to Griffith University and confident that I could make it through this period of hardship. I also felt reassured that Griffith University is where I belong.
“The bursary I received was the main reason I was able to make it through my first Trimester and it provided me with the financial freedom to stay focused on my degree. I was able to stay at university; I was able to afford my rent. I didn’t have to move home, and I didn’t have to drop out.
“Most importantly, the bursary I received helped me gain the confidence in realising how capable I actually am,” Brittany said.
Brittany, along with thousands of students who received financial support through the bursary have been extremely grateful to the donors and Griffith for supporting them during the pandemic.
“To everyone who donated I would like to thank you for this opportunity and generosity.
“I have struggled so much, and your support has has given me the freedom to keep my dreams at Griffith alive and find the confidence to succeed,” Brittany said.