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Scholarship keeps Clinton's education dream alive

Physiotherapist student, Clinton Tran, was ‘over the moon’ when he received a university scholarship, never imagining how critical it would be to him and his family.

Clinton hopes to one day own his own physiotherapist practice and has been working hard to make his dream a reality.

With impressive grades and part-time work as a physio assistant and sports trainer, he was well on his way to achieving his career goals.

Spending most days on university campus, Clinton studies every night and had hoped to reduce his work hours giving him time to focus on his degree and bolster his academic credentials―having won the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence (Allied Health) last year.

“I can get pretty competitive with myself. I love learning and can even see myself branching out into business or medicine one day,” he said.

A Students’ Future Fund scholarship opened the door for Clinton to pursue his options.

“I was relieved, I couldn’t believe I got the scholarship. I had been struggling financially and it would go a long way to helping, not just me, but Mum so she can pay the bills,” he said.

Clinton lives at home with his mother, stepfather and cousin in Brisbane.

“Both of my parents came to Australia after the Vietnam War and have struggled to provide for our family,” he said.

“They were ecstatic when they found out I won the scholarship. They have always supported me and joked I could finally start carrying my own weight.”

Little did Clinton or his family know how true those words would be. Like many Australians, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put an enormous financial strain on them.

Clinton’s part-time work has dried up, his mother’s job at a processing factory has stopped and his stepfather’s future employment is uncertain.

“You never know what can happen in life. A few months ago, we were not worried about the coronavirus or a global pandemic,” he said.

“It’s really hard because we have lost a lot of income. The scholarship will make a huge difference to my family.”

The scholarship ensures Clinton can continue with his studies, giving him something positive to focus on during a difficult time. He is interested in specialising in muscular and skeletal injury and hopes to work with athletes and the community.

“I definitely want to be able to help people in the community. We have an ageing population and I really want to help those in need,” he said.

Clinton remains passionate and focused on his degree and looks forward to getting clinical experience and working with people.

“I’m really looking forward to working more directly with the community, but this may be put on hold for a little as the University has temporarily moved all of its courses online,” he said.

With help from the scholarship, Clinton can still pay for some of the essentials of university life, like textbooks, and help the family with other essentials like groceries and bills.

He plans to be very careful with how he spends his scholarship money and wanted supporters to know all donations go to students and make a big difference.

“I’m really grateful to all the scholarship donors. If it wasn’t for them a lot of students who are struggling wouldn’t be in university or able to pursue their potential,” he said.

“I’m also thankful for the love and support. It really makes a difference, not only helping me, but the people around me. I would like to thank everyone and hope they stay safe during this tough time.”