‘It’s opening so many doors for me, thank you’

Praxciana dos Santos is a first year studying Psychology. Her Futures Scholarship helps her balance her studies with her caring responsibilities.

I’m the oldest of three children. My brother, who’s a year younger than me, has cerebral palsy. Because my mum is a single mum, I like to think I’m kind of a second parental figure for my siblings. My other brother is only 12, so if mum needed someone to be in the house while she took my brother to the doctors then I would usually take on that role. As she’s a full-time carer herself, my mum can’t really have a job, so I used to do waitressing work as well, which meant that if my brothers needed anything they could let me know and I could buy it for them.

Although I’m one of the first from my family to go to university, I knew that it seemed like the best option for me. I’ve always wanted to develop my learning and find out what I could be. When I’m determined to do something, I set my mind to it! I originally wanted to study Law, but knowing the amount of hours that go into doing Law – especially because I have to divide my attention with home – I thought it was better to do Psychology, which is one of my favourite subjects. Hopefully when I graduate, I can look into doing a conversion course and I’m looking forward to the Futures Scholars’ trip to London soon where we’ll be visiting a law firm and meeting alumni.

My brother communicates using an interactive I-Pad, so his school recommended we should use sign language more to help him to communicate with us. I thought it might be good for me to learn – not just my mum – so I’ve taken up classes, which I wouldn’t have been able to do without funding from the Futures Scholarship. Being able to sign is a great skill to have and it has made me think that this could have a big impact in how I communicate with other people.

My Scholarship also means I can afford to get back home to Oxford. I try not to go home often because my mum knows that I need to be studying, but if there’s an emergency or if she needs help while she’s busy with my brother, then I can go.

Psychology is quite a broad subject – I could go into anything – but I know that some internships aren’t paid, so my Scholarship will help fund myself going back and forth to interviews. Laura, the Futures Scholarships co-ordinator, also recommended working at the University open days to earn some money and gain new skills. It’s really flexible job as well, so it doesn’t take up more of my time than studying.

My Scholarship has given me an insight into the kinds of opportunities I can have at university while I’m studying, opportunities that could help with my career choices and take me further into what I want to do into the future. It’s opening so many doors for me – thank you.

The University of Bristol’s Futures Scholarships award talented students in financial need a total of £4,500. This includes £2,000 of funding to help with essentials in their first year and a further £2,500 towards an internship, placement or other employability-focused activity over the course of their time at Bristol. Students also receive guidance and career support from our dedicated coordinator. A scholarship gives students freedom from financial uncertainty. It provides them with the option to choose a job that fits around precious study time and makes it possible to succeed.

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