Hi, I'm India Walter and I am in the final year of my Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce (Scholar’s Program) double degree, majoring in Economics and International Relations.
Transitioning from high school to university was an exciting process, as I was able to move into a flexible and independent environment where I could change my study options to suit my interests. Like many others, I’ve changed my mind a few times throughout my degree, but have been able to undertake study options which have helped me realise what I want to do in the future.
Finding my feet
I wasn’t particularly nervous when commencing at Monash, and I found that it didn’t take long to adapt to university life. While I still needed to seek help from friendly strangers and people I knew, I thrived off the independence that comes with being a Monash student. In saying this, though, there were a few areas within my degree that I wasn’t even aware of until I started, so it was handy to seek course advice early on to have a look at my options.
I learnt a few things during my appointment: I found out that I was eligible for a few different scholarship degrees, and I also learned that I was able to transfer into the course that was originally my top preference!
Being a double degree student brings an added dimension to study that occupies a large amount of time, so I’ve had to be able to carefully balance university with other commitments in my life. Personally, I have found the best way to do this has been to categorise my time. When I’m studying, I try to focus all my attention on my work and I often avoid distractions by going to a library. Similarly, when I’m socialising with friends or if I’m at work, I will try to remove any thoughts about study. I also avoid over-committing myself, so that if something unexpected comes up I am able to accommodate it without having to stress (too much).
A future overseas
Probably the biggest thing I’ve learnt throughout my time at university is that of my desire to permanently live abroad once I’ve finished my degree.
I was given a wonderful opportunity to take my studies to France, where I undertook one semester at the Reims campus of Sciences Po Paris. Even though I always knew I was going to enjoy my time overseas, it surpassed all my expectations.
The campus itself was small in size and numbers, and walking into uni I found that I recognised most of the other students. This made it feel very tight-knit, and it was easy to get along with everyone. Everyday life, though, was completely different to what I was used to, so it did take some time to adjust. First of all, I found that the administration at Sciences Po were quite unorganised in comparison to Monash, so it was difficult to find enough information about unit selection. To help with unit selection, I remained in close contact with Monash staff who also guided me through.
Another thing that took some getting used to was taking double the amount of subjects that I normally take in a semester. Luckily, each subject only had a two-hour tutorial each week. But these tutorials also had strict attendance requirements, which meant that missing any more than two tutorials in any one subject would lead to an automatic fail grade. However, midway through the semester I hadn’t missed any classes, so my friend and I booked a week-long holiday to Amsterdam! The highlight of my time abroad was realising how easy and convenient travel was across Europe, and I was able to enjoy a three-month holiday after the semester to see most of the continent!
Finally, going on exchange made me realise that there are so many opportunities in Europe for commerce graduates. My degree will definitely give me an advantage when it comes to finding a job overseas, as it is internationally relevant and I have the added experience of abroad studies.
I absolutely loved living in Europe, and I hope I’ll have the chance to live there on a more permanent basis after I graduate.