Chloe-Lea Sullivan is working four jobs while studying at the University of Wollongong (UOW). Her mental health conditions make the juggling of school, work and finances challenging. But with the help of three donor-funded scholarships, Chloe-Lea can get the support she needs.
Chloe-Lea started dancing when she was three years old. In 2019, she started teaching dance and knew that she wanted this to be her future.
“I love the empowerment and happiness that I feel when one of my students achieves something new,” says Chloe-Lea.
Chloe-Lea also developed an interest in teaching health, inspired by her Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) high school teachers.
“My PDHPE teachers were the reason I was able to get through high school, and why I aspire to become a PDHPE teacher,” Chloe-Lea explains.
“After a lesson on mental health, I finally felt the courage to speak up about the struggles I had been facing. This led to my diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.
“I achieved high marks in high school, but I spent countless hours outside of the classroom, because of these disorders, making school very difficult.”
Chloe-Lea’s hard work and determination landed her a spot in UOW’s Bachelor of Health and Physical Education program.
“Because of my mental health disorders, I wanted to stay close to home for university and found a course at UOW that will prepare me for my career goal,” says Chloe-Lea.
Chloe-Lea is the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend university.
“My parents are really proud of me. They supported me to get into university because they knew that I wanted to get a degree to be better off than they were. They had me quite young and there were times when money was tight because they didn’t have well-paying jobs.”
Before Chloe-Lea started university, she applied to several scholarship programs but was unsuccessful.
“I was so disappointed. I’ve always been a high achiever and really struggle with rejection. I found it hard to take that on board,” Chloe-Lea admits.
In her first year of studies, Chloe-Lea explored scholarships available to current students and submitted applications for three different programs – the Transforming Futures Scholarship, Alumni Bookshop Scholarship and Patterson Family Scholarship.
“I wasn’t expecting to get all three – but I did! It was a huge achievement and a boost to my confidence.”
Chloe-Lea says that the scholarships will alleviate her financial stress.
“Thanks to these scholarships, I won’t need to work four jobs next year.”
“I bought myself a new laptop and put the rest of the funds in a savings account.”
“I hope to do work experience in rural New South Wales so this financial support will give me the freedom to do this without having to worry about how I’d afford travel expenses and time away from my paid employment.”
The three scholarships that Chloe-Lea received exist thanks to the support of generous donors who give to UOW.
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donates to student scholarships. The absolute joy that students like me feel when they receive scholarships is hard to explain. For me, I felt like people believed in me and that I was deserving.”
“When you donate money to students who need extra funds, you are acknowledging their achievements and for many, going to university wouldn’t be possible without your help.”
“Even if it’s just for one person, you’re making a huge difference in their life.”