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Hard work the key to high achiever

Logan Ovenden-Clarke fits more into a day than most. The mature-age physiotherapy student, UniPASS facilitator, and recent winner of a prestigious Don Watts High Achiever Scholarship, juggles his studies with work, various community and leadership activities and regular training sessions in the water, which he classes as R&R.

Logan was recently awarded a Don Watts High Achiever Scholarship.
Logan was recently awarded a Don Watts High Achiever Scholarship.

While Logan is now firmly ensconced in his physiotherapy studies, his educational trajectory has been far from typical. Leaving school before completing year 12, he did a stint in the Army and then worked as a personal trainer, where he developed an interest in the functioning of the human body, rehabilitation and health. After initially contemplating a sports science degree, he realised his real interest lay in physiotherapy.

“I lived in London for five years, and when I moved back to Australia three years ago I was looking for a way to further my career and broaden my knowledge. As I was working FIFO, running the gym on site, I started looking for external courses I could do and found Charles Darwin University run an external sports science course that would have allowed me to continue full time work at the same time,” he said.

“As I never completed high school, I enrolled in their bridging program to gain entry to the course, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised I was more interested in the rehabilitation and medical side of health, so I decided to apply for physiotherapy instead. This meant that after completing the bridging course, I had to do a year of a Bachelor of Science (Health Sciences) to be eligible to apply for physiotherapy.”

Logan is a keen traveller.
Logan is a keen traveller.

Having decided on a course, Logan then embarked on a gruelling period of both work and study to ensure he gained a place in a Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy).

“I worked full time while doing the bridging course and the first semester of Health Sciences. I would work 12 hour days and then spend another five to six hours studying in my room, when all my work colleagues went to the pub or played sport, but it paid off,” he said.

“The most rewarding aspects of my studies so far would be getting involved in the UniPASS program as a facilitator, helping students with difficult units, as well as constantly increasing my understanding of how the human body works…I am now a senior within the UniPASS program, helping develop the skills of other Peer Learning Facilitators.”

Like many students, Logan has found combining a heavy study load with paid work extremely demanding. The $12,000 per year Don Watts High Achiever Scholarship, which is awarded to only four students at the University, will help alleviate some of the pressures juggling work and study inevitably brings.

“There was so much work required to complete the application and it was due just before I had a major assignment, I very nearly didn’t complete it. I use to joke about how ironic it would have been had I not achieved the minimum grade to apply, because I was spending time applying,” Logan said.

“It means I have more time for my studies. All of last year I spent working around eight to nine hours a day every weekend but now I have this time to dedicate to extra study, which helps with life balance as well.”

Logan and the Swanbourne surf lifesaving club spreading some Christmas cheer.
Logan and the Swanbourne surf lifesaving club spreading some Christmas cheer.

Two of the selection criteria for the scholarship are leadership and community service, areas where Logan has developed skills and experience, with both children and adults, over a number of years.

“I have been involved in leadership positions for most of my adult life, from my time as a section commander in the Army, to managing the flagship venue of the largest outdoor fitness company in the world,” he said.

“Currently I am involved in running annual leadership workshops for Christchurch Grammar School year 11s, to help them develop the desirable attributes of a leadership and follow-ship. We also ran a similar program for young offenders over the Christmas period.

With community service, I am a patrolling member of the Swanbourne surf lifesaving club, as well as the current gym officer, and I run regular fitness classes for other members to help ensure lifesavers are fit to serve the public.”

In a previous life, Logan was a section commander in the Army.
In a previous life, Logan was a section commander in the Army.

Logan’s wanderlust, which has seen him travelling all over the world in previous years, has been a casualty of his University commitments, however he plans to head overseas at the end of the year.

“I travel when I can, which is obviously a lot harder now I’m studying full time. I’ve currently visited around 35 countries between Asia, Europe and Africa, and hopefully I’ll be able to get away at the end of this year as I didn’t manage to last year,” he said.

“It’s hard when all my friends have plans and I have to stay at home to study. Making friends from uni going through the same thing helps, as well as staying focused on the end goal.”