You received a GAF scholarship in 2012 while studying for a Bachelor of Health Science. Ten years on, has this time left lasting impressions on you?
Moving to Geelong (to attend Deakin University) from a small country town 300 kilometres away was a significant life transition for me. Fortunately, my scholarship provided invaluable financial support, relieving my worries about finances and employment during the immediate transition.
I was free to concentrate on my studies, establish productive routines and positive habits, and gain an understanding of the university's intricate framework. This provided a foundation for my future studies and allowed me to engage in sports and forge meaningful social connections, ultimately creating a sense of community and home in Geelong.
One of the most unforgettable highlights of this time was embarking on an international study tour across Europe, an experience that truly felt like the adventure of a lifetime. Without a doubt, this extraordinary opportunity would have remained financially out of reach without the assistance of my scholarship.
In terms of the enduring impact on my academic pursuits, the ability to engage in all the opportunities mentioned above was a catalyst for me to continue my studies, pursue an additional three degrees and ultimately achieve my goal of becoming a registered psychologist.
How did you prevent burnout while pursuing further qualifications to become a registered psychologist? Any advice for members of the GAF community who are entering postgraduate studies?
After completing my Bachelor of Health Science degree, I pursued a Bachelor of Psychological Science, a Graduate Diploma in Psychology, and a Master of Applied Psychology.
Throughout my educational pursuits, I made a conscious and consistent effort to maintain a balance between my studies and personal life. I recognised the importance of nurturing diverse interests and hobbies beyond the confines of textbooks and electronic devices. These activities included outdoor exercise, quality time spent with friends, and even participating in local-level competitive Australian Rules football, playing in a premiership-winning team in 2016.
To the members of the GAF community who are venturing into postgraduate studies, I offer a valuable piece of advice - make it a priority to sustain or discover hobbies and interests that exist independently of technology, scholarly pursuits, and reading. If possible, allocate at least an hour each day to engage in these. Doing so will significantly safeguard your mental well-being and ward off burnout.
I would also emphasise the importance of celebrating your achievements along the way. Whether it's the completion of a substantial assessment or the culmination of a trimester of study, acknowledge and mark these milestones in a manner that resonates with your personal preferences for celebration. In my case, it often involved relishing a nice meal at a favourite restaurant with friends or family.
By consistently embracing these practices of maintaining a balance between study and personal life, nurturing your hobbies, and celebrating your accomplishments, you will find the resilience and fulfilment necessary to thrive in your academic and personal pursuits.
Tell us about your research and publications. What drew you to focus on these topics?
I have authored multiple academic publications that have undergone peer review and been published in international journals. These publications explore various research topics, spanning fields such as mental health, personality, substance use, nutritional interventions for health, women's empowerment, and social issues that disproportionately affect marginalised communities.
One of my most recent publications focused on addressing individual-level gender inequality experienced by women. In this work, I explored the role of providing opportunities to women that have historically been available exclusively to men, such as participation in outdoor education camps.
We found that these opportunities did lead to perceived empowerment and leadership development, both important components in reducing gender inequality. This research reflects my commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women through equitable access to experiences and opportunities that societal norms have long restricted.
What are you up to now? Tell us about your current work and Instagram.
I currently hold a position with a national organisation where I am the Quality Assurance Manager, a psychologist, and an Advanced Behaviour Support Practitioner. The diversity of my responsibilities within this role keeps my professional life dynamic and engaging.
Beyond my professional commitments, I run an Instagram account @the.psychologist.nutritionist, an educational resource through which I summarise and disseminate research findings related to mental health. It focuses on distilling information from the most comprehensive studies, offering free and easily accessible content to empower individuals in supporting their mental well-being. The platform is gaining followers rapidly, and I hope this indicates it's achieving this purpose.