Alumni and friends have long supported some of our most in-need students through generous donations to scholarships. But it’s not just financial support you are providing for students. The psychological encouragement and collective community support that accompanies a scholarship can be life changing.
In March an appeal featuring the story of Pearl Hindley, an Alumni Scholarship recipient, was sent to alumni who have supported scholarships in the past, or were themselves recipients of scholarships or prizes. In addition to asking for much-needed contributions to the Alumni Scholarship Fund, we invited alumni to write messages of encouragement to Pearl and her fellow scholarship recipients.
Pearl is one of the 20 high school students awarded an Alumni Scholarship each year. A talented classical violinist, she is hoping to combine the power of music with helping people as she studies for a conjoint Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology. However, the costs of moving to Auckland, the expenses associated with studying music and a busy schedule of orchestral rehearsals and study left Pearl feeling the future she’d set her heart on was impossible.
Receiving an Alumni Scholarship gave Pearl more than just the economic backing to begin her studies; the kindness of strangers gave her the self-belief to achieve her dreams. “It means so much that someone out there, someone I don’t even know, has my back and this enormous faith in me.”
After receiving Pearl’s letter, nearly 200 alumni donated $30,000 to assist incoming students who, because of financial hardship, may otherwise be unable to undertake a university degree. The heartfelt messages that accompanied these donations were collated and anonymised before being passed on to Pearl and her fellow scholars.
These letters are now helping students get through their first set of University exams and assignments. Here are just a few of the words of wisdom that were sent in:
I want to wish you all the best for your studies. There will certainly be times when you want to throw it all in. But don't! Just take a deep breath and keep on keeping on. It'll be worth it all in the end.
I wish you well in your studies this year. A conjoint degree is a great struggle, but a great aim. Auckland University is a great university with talented and helpful staff. Make the most of it and enjoy participating in activities.
Your dedication and commitment will always be worthwhile.
Music speaks all languages and perhaps will touch hearts that psychology cannot read!
And how do the students feel receiving these messages? As Pearl said:
Reading them really made me feel like there's a whole lot of support coming from all sides and the fact that these messages are from complete strangers is remarkably comforting. It really warmed my heart to hear what they had to say.