Tom Stevenson is studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Chemical Engineering Systems. Learn about his experience so far, and why he'd encourage aspiring scholars to apply.
Tell us about your experience studying at the University of Melbourne, and how being a Hansen Scholar has impacted you.
My time at the University of Melbourne has undoubtedly been one of the best and most transformative periods of my life. As a Hansen Scholar, I have been given the opportunity to live in a whole new city and explore my passion at the top university in the country. Even outside of my university course, I have learnt so many things and been able to grow in all areas of my life. I have learned to live independently, manage my own schedule and finances and move through the world as an adult. I have met a lot of incredible friends and made important connections that will help me in my future career.
Why did you apply for the Hansen Scholarship Program?
Back before I applied, I would normally scroll past scholarship advertisements in my school emails all the time. I was only thinking about school then and didn’t really care about what would come next. The Hansen Scholarship Program was different though. It stood out immediately as it had everything I needed. For a long time I'd wanted to live in Melbourne, and I knew the University of Melbourne was the top university for what I wanted to study. At the same time, my family’s financial position made it impossible for me to go. This scholarship made me realise I could change that, and so I decided to apply and put my all into getting in.
Tell us about some of the events and opportunities you've been able to participate in as a Hansen Scholar.
The support I have received has made me feel much more confident and assured in my university life, as I know there is always someone I can talk to and ask for help for whatever issue I have. The Hansen Scholarship events I have attended have all been incredible as well. The award ceremony at the start year was an opportunity for our hard work to be officially recognised and gave us the chance to network with many important people in the University. The 2-day retreat we took to Portarlington was an absolute blast where we got some much-needed time off and were able to get to know each other a lot better.
What have been the highlights of living at Little Hall residence?
Living at Little Hall has allowed me to direct all my focus and energy into my passions, as it has taken away the financial stress I would otherwise have to deal with. It is a beautiful building, with excellent facilities and with everyone being university students, it creates a hardworking and driven environment that pushes me to succeed. One of the best things about living here has been surrounding myself with likeminded individuals, some of whom I know will become lifelong friends. Little Hall is also so close to both the University and the centre of the city, so I've been able to explore so much and have truly felt immersed in the Melbourne lifestyle.
Who has been the most influential person you’ve met at the University of Melbourne, and why?
I think I would have to give this to my roommate (and now very close friend) Albert. We have lived together since we first moved in during our first year and have been through a lot together. We do a lot of things together and have introduced each other to things we would never have seen before. Both of us have dreams and goals we wish to achieve, and every day we push each other to better ourselves in pursuit of them. We keep each other accountable and follow each other’s progress. Both of us have achieved things in the past year and a half that would never have been possible if not for the other.
What advice do you have for other students considering applying to Melbourne and for the Hansen Scholarship?
All I can say is just give it a shot. When I applied, I really thought I had no chance, and that I’d just try it for the sake of it. Regardless, I kept trying my best in each round of the selection process and now here I am. If you really want what this program has to offer, then you have to give it your all. There’s nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.