The life-changing effect of scholarships should never be underestimated. They don’t just open doors for people who may traditionally miss out on higher education.Often, they become the critical element that enables someone who is facing challenges to juggle life’s hurdles, to keep going, keep studying and ultimately, build careers and make a living through work they enjoy.
Currently in her final year, Keisha Hane-Nou is a scholarship recipient for whom it proved invaluable. Keisha received a Ragdoll Scholarship back in 2016. The Ragdoll Scholarships were established by generous donors who wish to support students commencing any undergraduate course in the Schools of Management and Governance, Engineering and Information Technology or Health Professions at any Murdoch University campus.
In addition to helping with the financial demands of student life, the scholarship enabled her to persevere while managing a serious health issue. Murdoch University’s Advancement office caught up with Keisha to find out more.
What course are you studying at Murdoch?I am studying a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary Teaching) and am currently in my final year of this teaching degree.
How did you first hear about the Ragdoll Scholarship?During my first semester of university I saw a notice on Murdoch’s online learning management system (LMS). I decided to apply for the scholarship as I had just graduated high school, was unemployed and living at home with my mother, stepdad and two sisters. At that point in time we were living off one wage, as my mother was on maternity leave and my sister and I were helping to raise our youngest sister who was a newborn. My application was ultimately successful, and the scholarship has made a huge difference to my whole tertiary experience.
How has it assisted your learning journey?The scholarship has assisted my career development enormously. It has enabled me to pay for transport to and from my teaching placements from 2016 to now in 2021. The scholarship has allowed me to develop and execute creative lesson plans during these placements, which has benefited my professional development in the classroom. I have been able to network more during these placements and learn more about my future career in both childcare and school settings. I have also used the scholarship to pay for stationery and technology I require for studying and to support my family where necessary.
Socially, the scholarship allowed me to meet other recipients during my first year of studying in 2016. This was useful as I was able to relate to other students and discuss the strategies they use to study, while juggling other activities such as work or babysitting family.
The Finance team at Murdoch has also helped me immensely, as I was diagnosed with Stage 2B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (blood cancer) in my first year of studies. I was able to stop my payments for 2017 as I underwent aggressive chemotherapy for six months and recovered for the rest of the year. When I returned, the financial team and scholarship donors were very helpful and got me back onto the scholarship in 2018. This flexibility from the donors and Murdoch University helped me transition back into part-time study, which to be honest, I initially found difficult due to the short and long-term effects of chemotherapy.
Do you know what you would like to do after university?After graduating, I would love to start working in a local Childcare centre or school to gain experience in a workplace and extend my professional knowledge. I am open to other experiences related to my degree, as I would like to continue learning more in other areas and challenging myself. I would also like to continue working on my hobby-turned-small-business, Heirblooms Perth. This business focuses on making handmade ribbon roses and gift boxes using techniques passed down from previous generations. My sister and I came up with this idea based on my experience as a patient in oncology wards, as there are many circumstances where people can’t access or keep real flowers due to allergies, bacteria, and dust. Heirblooms Perth provides an alternative allowing people in these circumstances to experience gift giving without compromising their health and safety.
How did you find adapting to changes in study and life during COVID-19 over the last year?The scholarship has helped fund my placements and enabled me to support my family. This was critical last year with COVID-19 as it impacted our daily routines and my ability to go on placement due to being immunocompromised from cancer treatment. Last year I was three years into cancer remission and continued to study and catch up on childcare and school placements due to COVID-19 affecting the original schedules. I was able to achieve this while working in sync with my sister, who is now studying Psychology and Criminology at Murdoch, and my five-year-old sister who was in Kindy, as I am one of her carers. Like many, I found adapting to the COVID-19 changes difficult at first. However, I liked that I got to be at home more and that I was able to work as an external student, accessing everything online in my own time.
What are you most looking forward to?I am most looking forward to experiencing my final year at Murdoch University as an internal student on the South Street Campus. I am also looking forward to graduating from Murdoch and applying what I have learnt in the workplace. In the future, I am aiming to gain work experience, further my business, build my savings and maybe return to Murdoch University for further studies.
Murdoch offers a range of scholarships to help you focus on your studies. Search our scholarships to discover the ones you could be eligible for.