Ben Jones has settled into a medical science degree at The University of NSW, but the awards for the course he took to get there are still flowing.
The Guildford resident, 24, was awarded a TAFE Institute Medal and Foundation Skills Award for overcoming severe anxiety to complete his HSC through TAFE’s Granville college.
Mr Jones had left school at 16 after being badly bullied. He was presented with both awards at TAFE South West Sydney Institute’s 20th annual student achievement awards ceremony on Wednesday night.
Mr Jones now plans to become a doctor and researcher, and said the TAFE award meant a lot to him.
‘‘I really believe in what they do there,’’ he said.
‘‘They have a staff that care about student equity so much.
‘‘It’s really amazing to get recognition for all the hard work I put in last year.
‘‘The thing about anxiety is that it lies to you and says you can’t achieve anything.
‘‘I’d like to serve as an example and to inspire other people to see that they can.’’
Mr Jones previously received the Board of Studies’ Brother John Taylor memorial prize, for overcoming hardship to achieve academic excellence in the HSC, in March.
Catherine Livingstone taught Mr Jones while he was at TAFE and said she was proud of her star pupil.
“Ben’s story reinforces the important role TAFE plays in helping people to fulfil their potential,’’ she said.
‘‘I am very proud of him.’’