Aled and Sonesh are faced with change

3 June 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing uncertainty and hardship for the student community.   

Support Australia's Students: Aled and Arun's Story

Aled Morrow received a scholarship that changed his life. The impacts of COVID-19 are now changing his university experience.

When Aled heard about his scholarship to study music at ANU, he hopped straight into his car and drove from rural Western Australia to Canberra. He was so excited, he hadn’t even worked out a place to stay yet. Recently, the public health crisis pushed him to decide whether to stay in Canberra or return to his hometown.

“For many of us, it meant returning home. But for others, it wasn’t that easy,” said Aled. “Travelling would be very expensive, especially since I would have to take all of my instruments with me.”

In the end, Aled could stay back in his hall of residence, supported by senior residents and hall staff.

“This has given some much needed continuity in a time of great change,” said Aled.

Support Australia's Students: Sonesh's Story

A scholarship helped Sonesh begin her university experience. Now, that support is helping her to stay connected through the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Sonesh came to study at ANU, she felt university life opened a lot of opportunities for her. Today, she has had to transition from on-campus to online learning.

“Studying from home just doesn’t give the same learning opportunities as on campus. The internet connectivity is unpredictable during exams, which can affect course grades,” said Sonesh. “It’s hard to find a setup at home where everything is working perfectly fine.”

Sonesh was casually employed in retail and is finding it hard to be out of work.

“I had to repurchase some equipment to be able to study from home, which was a big upfront cost for me.”  

According to ANU higher education expert, Andrew Norton, 30 per cent of students working full-time were employed in accommodation, food services and entertainment, and another 28 per cent worked in retail, and these sectors are all negatively impacted by the public health crisis.  

Students from low socio-economic backgrounds, regional, international and students with carer responsibilities are particularly vulnerable, as they are less likely to have savings and are dependent on jobs for their expenses.  

When students like Aled and Sonesh are supported, it gives them security in these uncertain and stressful times. This can help them stay connected to their communities and networks, and manage their mental health and wellbeing.  

Many in the ANU community are already helping our students continue and complete their learning. You too can give to provide security and stability to our students.

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