I had to leave home for uni, because my family home was in Kalgoorlie, more than 600km from Curtin University, in Perth. Having wanted to be a librarian since a small child, where I studied was non-negotiable, so I was always expecting to need to leave home. However, as I spent my gap year using up my savings in Europe as a Rotary Exchange Student, I had nothing left when I eventually moved to the big bad city, to start my new life. My parents have always been low income earners, and could barely support me. It was because of this I started applying for every scholarship I could lay my eyes on.
Among them was the Pinnacle Foundation. I applied for enough funds for a new computer, textbooks, and software. I cannot say how relieved I was. I knew this scholarship was going to help me get through uni, I didn’t realise it was going to change my life.
The first thing that happened was my new laptop. The computer I had purchased back in high school was on its last legs, and was only just chugging along. So when Pinnacle helped replace it, I was able to give my old one to my younger sister, who was a Year 12 TEE student, and still sharing a PC with two other students. It wasn’t a great machine, but it was still a computer she could call her own. Also, I could now run library-specific software on my new laptop that I couldn’t before.
My mentor is an amazing woman called Robyn. Unlike most Pinnacle Mentors, Robyn is not from the same profession as me (I suppose they didn’t have any librarians listed as Pinnacle Mentors back then…), but despite that, she has been an amazing life coach, mentor, sounding board, and friend. I really cherish everything she has done from me. Around once a month, she picks me up, and we go for a coffee or a meal somewhere, and just talk. Everything from queer politics, to my uni course, to my love life. I also have learnt a lot about queer history from her. This year, she took me to the International Women’s Day Breakfast. Also, when I thought I had to move house, she offered to help me look. When I bought a new bookcase, she drove out with me to pick it up, so I could save money on delivery. And anyway she can see an opportunity to help me, she does. It has been amazing, and I hope to continue our friendship long after our formal Pinnacle Mentorship relationship has ended,
Pinnacle are also helping me attend a number of conferences, relevant to my profession and interest. Last year, they paid for my rego for the 5th New Librarians Symposium, held in Perth. Next month, I am going to Adelaide for the Children’s Book Council Biannual. And, should my paper get accepted, The Pinnacle Foundation have agreed to help me partially fund a trip to Amsterdam in August, for the International Conference on the Future of LGBTI Histories, in Archives, Libraries, Museums and Special Collections!
We are expected to be pro-active in supporting the Foundation though. Last year, I attended the annual Queer Collaborations conference for Australian students, which Curtin hosted. There, another Pinnacle scholar, Veronica, did a presentation on the Foundation, and handed out info of applying for scholarships, with myself and Iz supporting her. We were actively advertising Pinnacle throughout the conference. More than one person at that workshop is now a Pinnacle Scholar.
Above all, it has changed my life. I can never thank enough the donors, and the volunteers, for everything they have done for me, and for making the Pinnacle Foundation what it is.
By Suzie Day - you can follow Suzie's own blog at www.cataloguethis.com/