Finding your place in the first semester - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Finding your place in the first semester

4 Jun 2021

Whether you’re brand new to university study or returning, it can take a little while to find your place... and you’re not the only one feeling like this. 

Meet, Jonathon. The former FIFO worker, now Bachelor of Education (Secondary) / Bachelor of Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies student, shares what he's learnt since taking the first step in a new career direction.

It’s never too late to start

I’ve always admired people who have been able to commit to university. From the outside, watching people’s dedication to study and pursue their passion is inspiring. And, watching my siblings go through this process is what initially got me thinking about uni.

I am the youngest of four kids and grew up in Nanango and Hervey Bay. Dad completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering when I was young and my three older siblings all began their university journey in one way or another, but for different reasons, didn't get to walk across the graduation stage.

This gave me some idea of the level of commitment I wanted to bring to get through my chosen degree. Watching my siblings on their journey became one of the driving factors for me to start, and complete, my studies.

Everyone has a different journey 

When I returned from an overseas getaway in early 2017, I knew there was no way I was going back to my oil and gas job in Western Queensland. I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about, but I wasn't quite sure what that was yet.

Then, I received an email from USC promoting the Bachelor of Education (Secondary) / Bachelor of Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies program and I thought ‘this could be me’. I sent it to my mum and sister to see what they thought and after a little encouragement from them, I applied not long after.

Having not studied for many years or completing an OP in my senior school I was nervous about getting in. But, after a few emails communicating previous employment and qualifications, I received the offer email soon after.

You only need to prove it to yourself  

Success looks different for everyone. For me, my first semester was all about proving to myself that I belong and had made the right choice. By the end of the semester, I had a new-found confidence and picked up a lot of new skills in a very short time.

My next milestone was finishing my first year (which I did!) and I really felt I was in the right place, studying the right program. Each semester after that became a test to prove that it hasn’t all been a fluke. Now, this is my last semester of study, so it turns out it wasn't! 

I would not have made it through, reasonably unscathed, without the support USC provided along the way. I attended every drop-in, peer support, and any other workshops and sessions I could over the last four years to gain insight from my peers and mentors and make the most of the USC environment. I got involved in whatever ways I could, made sure I used the services on offer and connected with my teachers.

Keep making good choices 

The best piece of advice I received was ‘make good choices’ and I am so happy I made the choice to apply to USC back in 2017. So, I want to pass on this piece of advice to the next group of new students and let you know you have made a good choice! I am beyond grateful for the people I have met over the last four years, the support I received from lecturers, tutors, and peers and the opportunity USC provided me to grow. All the best for your journey!