Monthly Archives: March 2017

Solutions When You Chosen The Wrong Degree

Frenchy from Grease wasn’t sure if Beauty School was right for her. But how can the rest of us be sure?

I’d finished my Year 12 exams. Preferences had been submitted and offers accepted. Now, at my new university’s Open Day, I was struck with the realisation that all I knew about my degree was its name. What if I had made the wrong choice? How would I know? What would I do about it?I decided to tackle these questions with the help of a few close friends one Friday night, as we reflected on our first year out of high school. Here’s what Laura, Alex, Mark, Ben, Alastair and Aashna had to say.Tip #1: Don’t get pressured into it.A lot of people influence what we choose to do after high school. Friends, family and even schools themselves will have their opinions. However, universities expect their students to be passionate and dedicated, which is easiest when you are studying for your own reasons. Also, the pressure isn’t always just about the degree itself. Laura knew she wanted to study Occupational Therapy, but felt the pressure of choosing an ‘elite’ university. Her advice to her former self? “Don’t be a snob about the local university, because it’s the same degree and it’s ten minutes away!”Tip #2: Your course should make you excited!Alex thought he knew exactly what he wanted, but a semester in his chosen degree left him with no doubt that he needed to change. “Over time I just found the course less interesting than I should,” he said.“And because I didn’t find it interesting enough, I couldn’t work hard. There was just no passion.”And by the way, being passionate about your chosen degree isn’t as dorky as it sounds. You’ll probably find when you start your classes in Chartered Accountancy, Podiatry or Journalism that you’re surrounded by people who completely get what fascinates you. Your shared passion will actually help you form friendships faster and settle in to the university lifestyle.Tip #3: There’s a difference between a bad class and a bad degree.Unless you are completely blessed, you will at some point have to take a class at university that makes you want to curl up in a ball and sleep through the semester. But have hope!Mark says you should figure out “whether you’re annoyed at the content itself or the way they’re trying to teach it to you.” Sometimes, you just have to grit your teeth and deal with that particularly obnoxious tutor, or that one horrendous assignment.Tip #4: Money matters, but there’s usually a way around any problems.Ben had to find an alternate way to get his dream job, after he found out he would have to pay the course fees up front. “It was practicality really,” he said.”If I did an aviation course at university it would cost me over $100,000, so I did my second choice at uni and chose to do aviation outside of uni. “It’s cheaper and basically better because now I’ve got two things going for me.”Meanwhile, Aashna felt pressured to take the scholarship she was offered for a double degree. What she wished she had known? “Not to be shackled by the scholarship, because it meant that I had to do Business/IT.””If I changed courses they wouldn’t give it to me,” she added. “I don’t mind it, but I just solely based my decision on the financial side of the scholarship.”If you’re especially worried about losing money by changing degrees after your semester has started, look up your university’s census date. In most cases, you can withdraw from a course, change degrees or defer your course at any point before the census date without incurring a financial penalty.If you decide to change degrees after already starting, you can also ask your university about whether you have any eligible credit points from previous classes. This is simply a way of acknowledging any classes you have already taken that can make up part of your new degree, and can save both time and money.Tip #5: Your degree doesn’t have to be the first option.Maybe desk learning isn’t how you learn best. Keep in mind that there are no rules forcing you to go straight from high school to university. Alastair decided to take an apprenticeship first, and then go to university later. “I’m such a practical learner, that I couldn’t just sit down and memorise stuff for hours on end,” he said.“Going to uni is something that I’ll need to do in order to progress, career wise, but as of now I can choose the hands-on route.”You might even find that the extra experience you can gather before going to university will give you a competitive edge.And my personal advice? Tip #6: Keep your perspective.Sure, this field of study might be what you end up doing with the rest of your life. Or it might be what you do for a few years. Or it could just be what you study for the next few months. A degree is not a life-long lock-in contract; it’s meant to be a tool and yes, it’s (mostly) meant to be fun. So enjoy it!

Simple Tips For International Students On Their First Week In Australia

Your first week in a strange, foreign country may leave you feeling like Dorothy when she first landed in Oz – homesick and completely overwhelmed.

However, there is no need to panic. Here are a couple of useful tips to help you with your transition into the Land Down Under.1. Go to your University’s ‘Getting Started’ Sessions.Feeling confused about where to start? Many universities recommend their international students attend a ‘Getting Started’ session before Orientation Week. These sessions fill you in on how to enrol in your classes, getting your ID card, finding your way around the daunting campus and meeting other students. You will come out of the session feeling much more prepared – and who knows, maybe you’ll bump into a new friend who was just as confused as you are.2. Make your new room your home.Whether you’re living in a dorm, with a homestay or at your own apartment, you will be spending a fair bit of time there. So why not turn it into a place that you can call home? Plaster those dull white walls with posters of your favourite band or TV show. Hang fairy lights to cast a warm, golden glow over your bed and pin nostalgic photos of your smiling family and friends on a corkboard. Ta-da! Your bedroom is now a sanctuary of comfort and relaxation.3. Manage your money.Moving to Australia as a university student means you will need to budget your money wisely. Resist the temptation to spend all your cash on “I Heart Australia” T-shirts to send to your friends back home, and invest your money in a savings account. Rack up student discounts, deals and stash away any leftover money in the bank. Also, get a job as soon as you can. Whether it’s at your local Boost Juice or a restaurant specialising in your homeland’s cuisine, it will keep you too busy to dwell on your inevitable homesickness and will earn you a little extra cash on the side!4. Make new friends.As humans, we tend to stick with what’s familiar. Whilst it is comforting to cling onto your old friends, you must leave behind the past in order to discover a new you. Join clubs and societies that interest you and don’t be afraid to talk to people. They are also just starting out at uni and are probably just as lost as you are. If you’re feeling homesick, organise exciting events like ice skating and karaoke with a bunch of friends and tell them to invite people that they know. Nothing brings people closer together than belting out the lyrics to “Someone Like You” by Adele – trust me.5. Visit the places that make Australia beautiful.Embrace the culture of Australia and immerse yourself in the abundance of wonderful activities that your city has to offer. Many lively cities in Australia pride themselves on their array of exhibitions, museums, galleries, rivers and festivals. Sightseeing can be a great way to distract yourself from missing your home too much, as well as learning your way around. Sure, the first week may be a little intimidating, but once you get over your first few days in Australia, you will settle right in. Don’t be afraid to try new things and embrace change! After all, just because Dorothy said there’s no place like home, it doesn’t mean that she didn’t enjoy her adventure in Oz

Weigh Up Your Career Options While Still In High School

As somebody recently thrown into the clutches of Year 12, I know all too well the daunting feeling of having to consider my future.

Not only must we decide on at least a vague idea of a career goal, but we have to figure out the means by which we will get there.Scary, huh?For those of us who have opted to take the university path, here are a few tips to consider which will hopefully make this stressful experience just a tad less stressful.1. Speak to a careers counsellor.I consider myself lucky to attend a school which has a careers counsellor available to talk about my future whenever necessary. If you do too, I would highly advise you to take full advantage of this; their expertise and knowledge will likely be a godsend if you’re totally stuck for direction. Usually making an appointment is as easy as sending a quick email or simply turning up for a chat. I can almost guarantee you’ll come out of there with at least a little more clarity.

2. Attend university open days.Pretty much every year, most Australian universities host an open day. These events, often held during winter, are primarily aimed towards prospective students and contain a goldmine of information about university life. Not only do you have the opportunity to ask staff and students any pressing questions, but you can also explore the campus, attend lectures, learn about clubs and extra-curricular activities and enjoy a bite to eat whilst taking in the atmosphere.

3. Do some self-directed online investigation.Often the most useful information is that which we have sought out ourselves. Take a moment to browse through the websites of universities that appeal to you, and compare the pros and cons of particular courses at each establishment. Asking for advice on forums is another great way to source opinions without even having to leave your bedroom. This way you can get specific answers to your queries from people who have been through exactly what you’re about to face.

4. Ask friends and family for useful contacts.Surprisingly, sometimes the people closest to you can end up assisting you in your data-hunt more than any professional could. If you have an inkling of a realm you’d like to enter, don’t hesitate to ask your aunts, uncles, cousins, friends or even that eccentric old lady from across the road about their experiences, and if they can help you in any way. If you want to be a GP, ask your GP. If you want to be a teacher, ask your teacher. It is highly likely at least one of them will know somebody they can put you in contact with. The fact that you may already know this person might make the process slightly less intimidating and settle your nerves about the future.

5. Look for work experience opportunities.You’ll never know exactly what a job entails until you do it for yourself, which is why work experience is practical for almost all young people. Not only will you get a feel for being employed, you’ll also have something impressive to put down on your résumé. In the beginning it may just entail simple tasks like getting coffees, filing and general tidying, but at the end of the day any work is worthwhile work. Even if you’re unsure of your commitment to the field in question, the experience itself will be paramount in preparing you for the workforce and perhaps directing you along other paths.

6. Ask yourself questions.It seems kind of obvious, but many of us are in such a hurry to decide on our futures that we don’t stop to consider the most blatant questions. Here are some things to ask yourself before setting out on the treacherous quest for employment:What are my greatest strengths?What are my passions?Could I combine these strengths with my passions in order to formulate a worthwhile career?Would I be happy doing this in the long run?If yes, what can I do now to set off on this path?Often a little bit of self-reflection can make all the difference throughout this arduous process and can provide the spark that sets the wheels in motion.