Paris Fishlock is the 2021 recipient of the Peter and Elizabeth Moore Transforming Futures Scholarship and the John, Belle & Richard Miller Bridgewater Scholarships for Opportunity.
Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in Ulladulla, a small town on the NSW South Coast. I am a proud Indigenous woman. During high school, I received the NAIDOC award for Commitment to Education and Leadership, the Devive Indigenous scholarship for Personal Excellence and the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander VET student of the year. I love to paint and have explored my passion through volunteering with Koori Kids Klub, which provides children with after-school Indigenous culture education. I graduated high school in 2019, which in itself was an incredible achievement, as I endured severe bullying throughout—graduating proved to me that I can push myself through anything. My own experiences have led me to stand up against bullying online and shine a light on subjects such as mental illness and the severity of anxiety and depression. I am passionate about being a part of the change that can create a safer, happier world.
What inspired you to attend university?
I attended a University of Wollongong Indigenous Camp, where I spent three nights on campus exploring the University’s courses and resources. After that, I was hooked on the idea of becoming a university student. I participated in Discovery Days and attended a Sociology lecture, which was fascinating. Everything made sense to me, and they were presenting topics that I wanted to learn more about – some that I had already researched out of personal interest. Deciding between psychology or sociology was difficult until I discovered I could do both. I’m now completing a double degree in Psychology and Social Science.
What are your plans for after graduation, and what is your greatest aspiration?
I have a strong passion for helping people. I hope to gain experience as a psychologist while also exploring where sociology could take me. I would also love to exhibit some of my paintings. There is so much change to be made in the world, and I want to be a part of it – no matter how small, or large, my role is. When I was younger, many of my peers sought advice from or confided in me, which helped me connect with them. I knew from then on that no matter what, if I am helping people and making a difference in this world – to one person or one million people – I will be happy.
What does being a scholarship recipient mean to you?
I was so excited that I couldn’t stop smiling when I found out I was a scholarship recipient! I was so relieved that I would be supported through my studies and helped to purchase textbooks, stationery, and other required items. Having two scholarships has shown me that I am worth it and encourages me to continue doing my best and push myself to do even better. I cannot thank the donors enough. Without your support, I would be spending my study time applying for work, so you have taken the weight off my shoulders. So again, I thank you. I now have so much support, and I am forever grateful.