David’s scholarship is helping him flourish

For students facing financial or personal difficulties, exploring all that university life has to offer can easily fall down their list of priorities.

In David’s experience, the support he has received throughout high school and university has led him to learn more about himself and reach his full academic potential.

The second-year Bachelor of Commerce student said he was fortunate to have a formative experience during high school that set him on a path towards studying economics.

“I was lucky enough to meet an important figure – a really good teacher introduced me to the idea of wanting to become an economist,” explained David.

David Suson

David began his Bachelor of Commerce degree in 2022.

After completing a few years at his local high school in Dandenong, David began to consider the idea of expanding his horizons at the academically selective, government-funded Melbourne High School.

“Even though I was very hesitant on going to a new place in the city by myself, that teacher also encouraged me to move schools,” said David.

“Without having went to Melbourne High, I would 100 per cent say that I wouldn't be on the same trajectory I am now.”

Years later, David decided to apply for a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Actuarial Science at the University.

He intended to juggle his studies with a part time job, because although David’s parents are supportive, they didn’t have the means to assist him financially through his studies.

To his surprise, David was awarded a Melbourne Access Scholarship along with his acceptance to his course of choice – support that he doesn’t take for granted.

Through the Melbourne Access program, a student’s personal circumstances are taken into consideration as part of their application to the University of Melbourne, giving a more diverse range of talented students the opportunity to excel.

And thanks to donor support, many Melbourne Access students like David are awarded a scholarship to help them commit to their learning with confidence.

Developing full potential

Inspired by the opportunity afforded to him by the generosity of donors, David set out to make the most of his university experience.

“I didn't want to waste any of my time, and I went to campus every single day for that entire term, just to get the feel of it and adjust,” he said.

David Suson
David was born in the Philippines but moved to Australia with his family at a very young age.

David feels privileged that he can make the most of all that university has to offer, both for his academic and personal development.

“University is a time to build an identity outside of just studying,” he explained. “I think that's also how you live a better life in general – because life is more than just work and study.”

One way David decided to build his identity and make the most of university life was through joining social clubs – some of which he is still engaged with today.

“I initially joined a book club, Kendo club, and tried out ballroom dance and hip hop,” said David. “I'm also part of the Actuarial Student Society and I'm a first-year representative for them.”

Not only did the extra time afford David the opportunity to explore new hobbies and social settings, it also provided him with the energy and downtime needed to focus on assessments and study over the weekend.

David noticed many of his peers would attend classes Monday through Friday, and work on Saturdays and Sundays, leaving the evenings as their only study time.

“What tended to be the case was that their weekends were just taken up by their work, then by the time they go home after their shifts, they didn't really want to study.”

Having been guided by an important teacher in his own adolescence, David developed a passion for teaching. And thanks to the generosity of donors, David had the time and energy to explore this passion with his peers.

“I decided to help out others in my course by tutoring microeconomics – it was three-hour sessions across three days and we covered everything,” he explained. “It's more of a passion thing, but it’s something I can put on my resume.”

He also feels grateful for the opportunity to develop teaching skills, as David hopes to one day step into teaching and help students that need guidance like he did.

“I want to teach in lower socioeconomic areas and try and make a change, especially after taking inspiration from the teacher who helped me out.”

Security amid the pandemic

While David flourished through his first semester of university, he hit a difficult period after contracting COVID-19.

“It was around the time of end of semester exams when I got long COVID,” he said. “I had to go through the emergency room twice, and for the following month, I was basically incapacitated and I got tired really easily.”

David couldn’t help but imagine how much more stressful his COVID experience would have been without the support of the Melbourne Access Scholarship.

“If I had been employed at the time, I would have most likely been a casual worker and had to resign,” said David. “The fact that I still got income, regardless of my health, made getting through much easier.”

Although David feels he would have performed better in his exams in full health, he is appreciative for the financial stability that gave him a strong sense of security through it all.

“I was already stressed about exams, and then about my health failing me during exams, but I thought, ‘at least my financials aren't going to fail me too’.”

David Suson

The financial support David received was crucial in helping him manage his studies while facing long COVID complications.

Generosity with great influence

Speaking like a true economist, David reflected on the remarkable cost-benefit of even a modest donation made to the Melbourne Access Fund.

“Even though the scale of the cash is relatively small, the impact it can have on people's lives, like mine, is immense,” said David.

He is grateful to donors who have such a transformative impact on students like himself at a crucial time in life.

“The fact that I'm already seeing such a difference means that the cumulative effect across many students would be absolutely great, much more than the money can quantify.”

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