If you attended our Scholarship Award Ceremony two years ago, you may recognise Melissa Le Fevre as our inspiring recipient speaker. During her speech, Melissa shared details of the barriers she has overcome to finish her education and pursue a career in law.
When first asked to speak at the ceremony, her initial reaction was to say no.
“I have never been one who loved public speaking and I remember sitting there thinking that there was no way I was capable of doing that.”
“I have always kept my family life and financial circumstances very close to me. Now I was being asked to share this with over 400 guests. It took a few days of convincing myself that I needed to give this speech. I knew that it would be a massive hurdle to overcome but I also knew that if my story could help just one person strive to achieve their goals, then I needed to put my nerves aside and give this speech.”
Melissa says that despite her reservations, her decision to share her story with our award ceremony attendees, including almost 100 new scholarship recipients, was worth it.
“I remember seeing tears in people's eyes after I shared my story of heartache and success. I was warmly greeted and thanked by many guests that evening. I cannot describe what this meant to me. It is an experience I am definitely proud of.”
From Study to Dream Job
Melissa grew up in Melbourne’s west, completing her VCE at Gilmore Girls College in Footscray. From there, Melissa studied a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at Deakin University where she got to experience international travel.
Her experience at university led to some interesting opportunities and, we are pleased to report, a promising start to her legal career.
“During my six years of university I travelled to Paris where I studied two commerce units. In 2016 I graduated from university and I am now working full time at Allens as a paralegal in the Mergers, Acquisitions and Capital Markets practice group.”
Western Chances is thrilled to have played a part in giving Melissa the hand up she deserved, helping her to secure her new job through our professional networks.
“As clichéd as it sounds, Western Chances has changed my life. From high school to university and now to my professional life, Western Chances has been there every step of the way. The team has not only provided me with financial support but they have also provided me with emotional support. I can wholeheartedly say that if it wasn’t for the encouragement, belief and support the team has given me, I would not have been able to go to university and I would not be working in a job that I absolutely love.”
Now, Melissa is one of the lucky ones who gets up in the morning excited to start a day at work.
“The best thing about my job is that the work is always diverse and interesting. I get to work on multi-million dollar transactions with large successful commercial companies. I am in a position where I do not dread getting up in the morning and coming to work.”
“Take advantage of every opportunity you get and just go for it.”
Melissa encourages other students who want to become lawyers, but are facing financial or other barriers, to “just go for it”.
“I was in a position where I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be on my way to becoming a lawyer. I not only doubted my own ability but I also knew I could never afford the university fees. I won't lie, law school is tough. There are many sleepless nights, many tears cried, and a copious amount of coffee drunk. However, the feeling of standing up on stage and accepting your graduation certificate after overcoming many barriers that life throws your way is an amazing feeling.”
“There are people out there who support and believe in you. Take advantage of every opportunity you get and just go for it.”
Melissa is an inspiration to other young people and we can’t wait to see what is next for her.
“My career dream is to become a successful commercial lawyer, to love my work and to help those in need. My personal dreams are to own a nice house and have a loving family and to be in a position where I can give back to those who have been there for me along my journey.”
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