Associate Professor Colin Jevons
Starting uni is the beginning of one of the most exciting and interesting periods of your life, but it can also be one of the most daunting. Whether you’re coming straight from high school, have taken a gap year, or are thinking about returning to study, you probably have a few questions and possibly some fears.
To help make the transition a little easier, Associate Professor Colin Jevons, Bachelor of Business Course Director, shares his advice on how to make the most of university life.
A lot of students aren’t sure what to expect when starting university. It’s a large institution with lots of people, and new students often find themselves getting lost – both physically and mentally. That said, uni isn’t a scary place, and there are many things you can do to make the most of the experience.
One of the first things I would say to new students is: don’t be afraid to engage with everything the university has to offer. Yes, your GPA and WAM are important, but they’re not the only differentiators that you will be able to offer a future employer. Do other things to boost your CV. Get involved with student societies (BCSS, FMAA and MMSS, to name a few), join a non-residential college or spend some time volunteering.
It can be easy to get caught up in the academics, so involving yourself in the social aspect of university is a good way to get a break from all the study and to make friends. It can also improve your academic performance, by increasing your engagement with the university, and might also give you the edge when you’re applying for that dream job.
Enjoy the freedom but take responsibility
At uni, you have the freedom to explore what you want to do. However, with newfound freedom comes its fair share of responsibility. For one, you have just as much freedom to succeed as you do to fail. You’ll often be left to your own devices, and you have to learn to take responsibility for your own education.
Be proactive about seeking assistance and support when you need it, instead of waiting for it to be offered. While this can take some getting used to, it’s an important part of preparing you to be an independent business professional.
Prepare yourself for the workforce as much as possible
There are several things you can do to prepare for the workforce. Some examples include:
- Undertaking an internship – we’re constantly expanding our internship program, and it’s a terrific way to test out the professional workplace. Many people get graduate positions out of internship opportunities, while some find out that the area that they intern in is not for them. Both are superb outcomes for our students.
- Carefully choosing your capstone unit – the capstone portfolio of units at the end of the degree tie your studies together and help ease you into the professional workforce. Units such as BEX3000 and BEX3622 are offered in various forms, including at our campus in Prato, Italy.
What happens, though, if things don’t go according to plan?
Your first point of contact should always be the friendly people in Student Services.
If you’re after advice or need help, every single, conceivable support that you could ever need is available at Monash. If there’s anything at all that you’re concerned about, I can’t stress enough that you should always ask within the university first; you shouldn’t have to go outside the university for support, especially academic. If you’re concerned about academic content, always contact the academic responsible for that content, which will be of top quality.
For international students or students wanting to improve their English skills, a support service that I’m particularly fond of is English Connect. The service is designed by highly-qualified English language teachers and facilitated by top-performing fellow students who know the student experience. It’s a great way to meet other students in a friendly learning environment and develop your English language skills. Thanks to English Connect, some students have increased their performance by an average of two whole grades!
University life is what you make of it. There isn’t a right or wrong way of going about it, but becoming involved in all aspects – not just academic – will help you enjoy it a lot more and get the most value from your experience.