Monday, 8 October 2012

Healed by your empathy

I stepped onto the plane hoping for nothing more than this ride to be over. I felt the familiar sense of unease as I located my seat, but found it was intensified by knowing I would not have a familiar face sitting next to me as I contemplated all the possible scenarios that could lead to my death. I saw the engine burst into flames, the wings snap off as unexpected turbulence took hold, and my body flung from my seat through the gaping hole in the side of my flying tomb. I have never flown solo before, and clearly I am not the calmest flyer at the best of times. I decided to go over my speech and try to take my mind off the situation I had put myself in.

As the longest one and a half hours of my life eventually passed, I began to realise the realness of my situation. I was entering a city I had never been before to speak to a room full of people I had mostly never met about my experiences as a recipient of a Pinnacle scholarship. I was excited, anxious, nervous, but above all, utterly thrilled. I was in Brisbane, a place I had never been and whose appeal had called to me for as long as I can remember. I was greeted with warmth as I entered its streets in search of my destination and once arrived, the warmth continued as I was met by the familiar faces of Pinnacle. Any sense of apprehension faded immediately and I began pumping myself up for the event that was about to unfold.

As I entered the room full of unfamiliar faces I took my place ready to deliver my speech. I stood next to my fellow scholar Harriet (who’s calm and collected exterior was both refreshing and intimidating) and waited for my name to be called. As Harriet finished her brilliantly moving presentation I was called to the floor and without hesitation began a verbal assault on my graciously receptive audience. My notes became irrelevant as I recounted the history of my affiliation with Pinnacle and the impact their generosity has had on my university experience. I explained the unparalleled impact my mentor has had on my introduction to University and by the end I felt as though I had had a therapeutic experience as I relived the state of bliss which had accompanied my first semester of learning. 

The reception was incredible. I was met with words of encouragement from complete strangers whose enquiring nature made me feel supported and respected. I left the event feeling even more confident in my abilities as a student and, as I explored the streets of Brisbane, knew that without the generosity of The Pinnacle Foundation I would not be the worry-free student I am right now. Pinnacles’ empathy has healed me of my self-deprecating nature and I am truly grateful.

By Steve Walker

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