By Alessandra Bridge
When I graduated from high school, in 2017 I received an OP score of 18* or below, only seven ranks away from the lowest achievable OP score. This is despite putting in the hard yards and having a predicted OP score of 9 or below. Receiving the Long Tan Bursary helped me start to feel like my OP didn't define me. My score was low but AVCAT believed in me and wanted to give me the chance to succeed at university.
I was accepted into university only one week before orientation, which meant I had to move to Brisbane, three hours away from my parents. Without the first payment from AVCAT I would not have been able to repay my parents for the bond money they lent me, despite having little money themselves. My father is a Vietnam veteran and has been retired since before I was born, due to war-related injuries. This money was not only a big deal to me but also to my father who has done everything to make sure my siblings and I have had the best go at life.
The Long Tan Bursary means the world to me, my father, a Vietnam veteran, and my mother.
University life, and life away from my parents, was no less stressful than trying to get accepted in the first place. I spent the first year of my degree studying something I wasn’t remotely interested in. I moved back home temporarily, on three separate occasions.
My father was always there to organise and fix everything for me, driving three hours every time to collect me, and all my belongings, with no complaints.
Throughout my first year of university I managed to save a large portion of my Long Tan Bursary. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to study game design in the future, and I knew I would need to buy myself a decent PC.
After struggling to enjoy my studies in my first year of university I decided to apply for Game Design at Griffith University for 2019, and see if I would be accepted. Studying Game Design was always something that scared me. I would be pushing myself way out of my comfort zone, and be one of few females in the industry.
With the help of AVCAT and the Long Tan Bursary I was able to buy a second-hand PC, with the specifications for the programs I would be using at university, so that I could always be furthering my knowledge and skills at home - even if part of it is sitting on top of a fridge. Game Design is hard work with extremely long stints on the computer, without my own computer I would practically have to live in the university’s computer lab.
Although my dad is 72 years old and finds what I do extremely confusing, he always calls to see if I’ve finished the game I’m working on, or if I’ve thrown my computer out the window yet. I’m glad he can be proud of me for something the same way I’ve been proud my entire life to have him as my father and I have AVCAT and the Long Tan Bursary to thank for that opportunity.
Alessandra was awarded the Long Tan Bursary in 2017.
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*An OP score of 18 is approximately equal to an ATAR of 64, an OP of 9 is approximately equal to an ATAR of 82.