Meet the Valedictorian: Q&A with Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) Graduate Lachlan Scott

What inspired you to study speech pathology at UQ?

Lachlan Scott
Lachlan Scott
Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) Graduate and Valedictorian

I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do until right at the end of high school. I knew that I absolutely loved communication, and I had a passion for healthcare, but it wasn’t until I was looking through the course list available at UQ that I realised I could combine the two!

I wanted to study at UQ because I knew it was a world-class university, and suddenly the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of what I wanted to do came together.

What has been your most memorable moment at UQ?

My most memorable moments on campus have been the tutorials that I’ve shared with my fellow students in the final year of my degree. It has been an awe-inspiring experience to be surrounded by the intelligence, motivation, and discipline of the students in my cohort. Being able to engage, discuss and debate amongst this group has made me feel privileged to be accepted by such talented people.

How did you manage to balance your study, work and other extracurricular activities?

Not always very well! Being a university student means constantly being divided amongst a horde of responsibilities, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you must and want to get done. I’ve always found it helpful to prioritise my wants and needs and then work through them one-by-one, doing things in small, manageable pieces.

For myself, study, work and extracurriculars have all supported each other, and I couldn’t have had balance without devoting time to each of them.

What drove you to become such a high achiever?

I think the most important factor in succeeding at anything is a sincere passion for what it is that you’re doing. It’s easy to work and something, and to want to excel, when you care deeply about the outcome of what you’re doing, and you see the big picture of how it matters. I think that for me, any achievements have simply been a biproduct of wanting to give it my all.

Would you like to share any major obstacles or hardships you have overcome throughout your studies?

For myself, the hardest obstacles that I’ve encountered during university have been the challenges to my ability to keep studying. Financial hardships have meant sometimes having to attend placement 5 days a week, while working nights and weekends to make ends meet. Having to find ways to keep a roof over my head while going through the cycles of stress around assessment has been a humbling experience.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m incredibly passionate about advocating for those that can’t speak up for themselves, and those whose health, social or financial situation might otherwise prevent them from having access to opportunities. As someone that feels they owe their success to the incredible people and institutions that gave him the opportunity to rise beyond his means, I can’t help but feel obligated to give others the same opportunities I was given.

How does it feel to be the first in your family to attend university?

It’s a surreal experience to be at the end of a journey that I never thought I would be able to take. Growing up, the idea of attending university always seemed like an idealistic dream that only existed in movies and TV, that was more fantasy than reality. I feel incredibly honoured on behalf of myself and my family to have been accepted into an institution as prestigious as The University of Queensland, and I still feel grateful for it every day.

What do you believe it takes to become valedictorian?

I think that becoming valedictorian requires a certain attitude more than any natural intelligence or aptitude for study. To really grow and succeed and make the most of the incredible opportunities you’ll have access to at university, you need to be willing to throw yourself out there, go out of your comfort zone, and embrace failure. Finding your passion and relentlessly chasing after it, is in my opinion, what it takes to become valedictorian.

What does being awarded valedictorian mean to you?

Being valedictorian was never something that I envisioned being a possibility throughout my university studies. The incredible intelligence and achievements I saw amongst my peers was constantly humbling, and I couldn’t imagine being selected to represent such an astonishing group. Being awarded valedictorian has been as much as a surprise as it has been an honour, and I still feel like just another person in a group of incredibly talented people. To have gone from never thinking I would be able to attend university, to being recognised amongst my peers is mind-boggling to me, and it is probably the single greatest honour of my life so far.

What advice would you give current and future UQ students?

I would say not to be afraid to jump in, try things, take risks, and learn. Try to build healthy habits for your study and your life that you can carry forward throughout your university studies when things get tough. Take advantage of the incredible opportunities that you’ll have access to. You’re going to be surrounded by world class scholars and academics, future leaders and world-changers, and once in a lifetime opportunities. The only person that can make the most of all that is you!

What’s next for you?

I’ve been incredibly lucky to land what I consider a dream job, and next year I will be working at the Hear and Say centre to support children and adults with hearing loss to achieve their best communication and language outcomes. I am overjoyed to be looking forward to beginning my clinical career there, and I cannot wait to finally use the skills I have been developing over the last 4 years to make a difference in people’s lives.


Read more on Lachlan: Speech pathology graduate with Tourette syndrome begins dream job

Learn more about UQ's Bachelor of Speech Therapy (Honours).
Last updated:
27 January 2023