Monique Perry is the first member of their family to go to university.
Proud to be the first of six siblings to pursue higher education, their sister is now following in their footsteps and will be looking on as they receive their Bachelor of Arts with a major in History and minors in Screen and Gender Studies.
Choosing the right university was a challenge in itself, but after attending the 2019 Australian National University (ANU) Open Day, intrigued by the diverse history courses offered and charmed by the proximity to hiking trails, Monique knew ANU was the right place.
Monique is candid about the hurdles they faced during the initial days at university, revealing, “my first semester of uni was probably the hardest because I had to adjust to leaving home for the first time. Then after only three weeks I had to re-adjust being back home and studying online amid the pandemic,” they say.
The ‘American Sixties,’ a vibrant course centred on the exploration of pop culture history, resonated with Monique. Taught by Douglas Craig, this class offered insights into the Cultural Revolution and the monumental events that shaped the modern world. “His enthusiasm was infectious. The course was instrumental in enriching my understanding of the cultural shifts that moulded the contemporary world,” shares Monique.
Monique won the Anne Fraser prize for American history in 2021, an accolade for their exceptional essay in HIST2126: American Sixties. Then in 2022 they secured the David Campbell Prize for Australian History, achieving the highest result for a major piece of written work.
Despite the pressure of managing studies along with three casual jobs, Monique has relentlessly pursued their academic goals. “Striking a balance between work and university has been a significant challenge,” they confess. Juggling multiple jobs while also studying has necessitated quick mastery of time management and organisational skills.
Adding to an impressive academic record, Monique recently had the opportunity to travel to Malta for an archaeology dig, an experience they describe as “incredibly exciting”. With a keen interest in history and gender studies, they reflect, "Studying these fields has taught me how to think critically, deeply investigate problems, and consider multiple perspectives."
Reflecting on their academic journey, Monique comments, “It’s been both challenging and rewarding, my degree has opened up my mind to the world around me."
With aspirations of working in museums and galleries, Monique dreams of curating exhibitions. Their journey, from the shores of Batemans Bay to the academic halls of Canberra, is a testament to their unyielding determination and resilience. Their story serves as a poignant reminder that success, albeit following a winding path, is within reach for those willing to approach it with tenacity and dedication.