A scholarship affirmed Grace's determination to succeed
Scholarship recipient Grace Sholl has faced a lot in her 19 years of life, but her ‘never quit’ attitude has seen her resilience pay off.
Grace was born premature and was developmentally delayed growing up. She required special educational support and had several years of speech therapy and private tutoring. The extra attention led to bullying from her classmates who deemed her different.
For most of her life, Grace has juggled looking after parents who live with mental illness, while living through her own struggles with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The Griffith University Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) student convinced herself she wouldn’t succeed, never imagining she would be accepted into University and receive a scholarship to follow her dream of becoming a Psychologist.
“When I was younger, I’d go to second-hand stores and buy old psychology textbooks to read for fun, because I was just so keen to learn more and help people like my parents,” she said.
“Psychology and mental health have been an almost lifelong passion for me. I faced many difficulties during high school due to my health and sexuality, to the point that I didn’t feel free or safe to be myself.
“For the first 16 years of my life I was convinced I’d never achieve anything. Without my scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I have academically, or keep my health on-track, all while finding time to support my community.”
Grace is now excelling in her third-year university studies and, with the financial freedom her scholarship brings, she’s also able to pursue advocacy and volunteering work to help various organisations.
“Receiving that scholarship acceptance email was a turning point for me. It wasn’t just the monetary support—it was the recognition that I have something to offer to the world, and that I was deserving of some extra support so I could achieve my dreams,” she recalled.
Grace spends her spare time volunteering at Griffith University, the Logan Youth Action Group, the Queensland Family and Child Commission Youth Advisory Council and supports students involved with School Strike 4 Climate. She is also a proud member of the Headspace Meadowbrook Youth Reference Group.
“I do a lot of volunteer work at Headspace. They saved my life as a teenager and I want to help struggling teenagers and tell them that it’s hard now, but things do improve,” she said.
She is also a Lived Experience Consultant with Australians for Mental Health, where she advises on and reviews policy recommendations that the organisation delivers to the National Mental Health Commission and the Federal Government. Her motivation is to ensure young Queenslanders have an advocate and voice at various state and national forums, and in the media.
The United Nations Academic Impact and the Millennium Campus Network recently awarded her a Millennium Fellowship in recognition of her commitments to various organisations focused on positive social impact.
“It’s been such an amazing experience! Being a Millennium Fellow and working on my social impact project has inspired me to get more involved in activism and consider how I can positively impact the wider community,” Grace said.
Grace is adamant none of these opportunities would be possible without the support of her scholarship and will be forever thankful to those who generously donated to fund it.
“I want to become a clinical psychologist and work with young people and see where the world takes me. For those donors who are helping me reach my goals, you have changed my life.”
“What may feel like a small act of charity to you has completely changed my life, and the lives of so many others like me.”
Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)