Shelley Barr-Waanders

Shelley Barr-Waanders

Hi, I’m Shelley and I’m studying a Management and Marketing double degree. I am expecting to complete my degree next year and I want to make sure that I’m ready to apply for positions once I graduate.

Throughout my degree, I have been fortunate enough to study overseas and undertake an internship at a Sport and Leisure department. I also had the opportunity to become a Peer Ambassador Leader, which is something I feel will set me apart from others when seeking jobs.


The Peer Ambassador Leader’s (PAL) program is about developing valuable team and leadership skills, which is an integral aspect of being involved in a business. I applied for the program thinking that it would be a good way to stand out from other business graduates, however the benefits gained from this experience were greater than I expected.

Shelley PAL

First of all, the program is jam packed. Over the course of a full semester, I was able to attend workshops, mentor international students and organise events. This gave me the chance to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds with some incredible ideas, while also developing my leadership skills. This was really beneficial when we had our group assignment, which was aimed to enhance student life.

The assignment was to organise a student movie night. We used a lecture hall for our movie screening and over 70 students showed up! Despite ordering a dozen pizzas and 50 Subway rolls we ran out of food, which meant that it was a great success. It was a great feeling after putting in all that work to be rewarded for it.

At the final workshop, my group had a great time discussing the event we ran. We debriefed and discussed what went well, and what can be improved on for next time – all while making jokes and having a laugh. To me this was the most enjoyable aspect, as it showed that the group project was a great bonding experience.

Shelley pal 3

What I’ve learnt

The PAL program also taught me a lot about myself. As part of the program, we were asked to take the GeneSys Psychometric Test. Essentially, this is a 45-minute personality test, where the results are very blunt. My results described me as a highly anxious person, and during my debrief session, Dr Ross Donohue explained that he believed I am a constructive pessimist. This means that while I would often think of the worst case scenario, I prepare accordingly.

I realised that this is not a negative thing, as I have been able to find techniques to turn this tension and anxiety to improve my performance while studying. For example, when studying for an exam I try to visualise failing the exam, and having to repeat the unit. I then take this fear of failure, and use it as motivation to study harder. Without this test, I don’t think I would have been fully aware of this, and as a result my uni grades may not have been as good as they are.


Although the PAL program isn’t available this year, it is just one example of the many ways you can really make an impact on your degree. I’d recommend getting involved in any way possible. Whether that’s through internships or societies and clubs, I think it’s important that you don’t go through uni alone. For me, creating that support network has allowed me to meet friends who will help you along the way.