At 23 years of age, Carers Australia Carer Ambassador Chantelle Day has recently completed undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Psychology and Education, achieving a High Distinction and being awarded Griffith University’s Academic Excellence Award.
“I achieved my Bachelor of Psychological Science in 2011 and one year later, I have graduated with my Master’s degree, having conducted one of the first Australian studies examining the lives and experiences of young adult carers in University,” said Chantelle.
Chantelle’s achievements are even more remarkable given that she has been the primary carer for her mother since the age of 12.
Carers often face many additional challenges to accessing and completing education. The constant pressures of full-time education, part-time work, and caring often means that there is no time for respite.
Chantelle was first granted a scholarship at Griffith University to study science, and it looked as though her dreams were about to become reality.
“Since childhood I had dreamed of becoming a Doctor, and as the years progressed this aspiration consumed my future plans.”
However, the demands of her new academic workload, coupled with her caring responsibilities proved impossible to undertake.
“I was forced to choose between my academic life and my role as my mother’s carer. I chose my mother, and reluctantly transferred my studies to a more manageable Psychology degree,” says Chantelle.
“The first two years of my undergraduate degree were very difficult. Both mine and my mother’s health deteriorated. It was one of the most frightening periods of my life.”
Despite the adversity, Chantelle continues to look forward.
“I plan to commence my Doctorate this year, and despite everything, I am thankful for the challenges I have faced.”
Carers Australia warmly congratulates Chantelle on her outstanding achievements, and is proud to have her as a Carer Ambassador.