As of writing this, I am six weeks from completing my first semester at Curtin University. The degree I am undertaking is a humble double degree in Engineering (Civil/Construction) and Mining Science.
What university is like
Walking into Curtin campus during a weekday is like walking into a mini city of peers. At first, I was intimidated by the sheer number of young adults, paranoid I would be out of place. I learnt that apparently the world wasn’t revolving around me and the people in my classes were in fact welcoming and very ready to make friends themselves. I found it an environment I adjusted to very easily.
First year Engineering has one of the highest contact hours out of all first-year courses – 25 hours worth of lectures and classes each week. Despite having to spend so much time at university, my classes only spread out over Monday to Thursday, giving me Friday to do extra study or catch up.
Studying at any university consists of the following types of classes:
· Lectures: sit in a lecture theatre with 100 to 200 other students while a professor/lecturer talks and students through and explains content.
· Workshop/lab: a classroom environment of around 30 students are given activities to work through together, assisted by a tutor.
· Tutorial: similar to a workshop in which you are with a smaller class, but the tutor teaches content directly while working through related problem sets.
One of the best aspects of university is that during most weeks, the workload is significantly lighter compared to that of Year 11 and 12, allowing time after class hours to fit in more study, a part-time job, or healthy recreation. However, some weeks the work piles up and study becomes full on, I may even use my Friday day off to complete assessments or study in the library. Most of the study is simply re-learning the content from lectures because simply taking notes while watching one professor talk in front of 300 students isn’t enough. As a result, most of my learning is independent. Because I had completed Year 11 and 12 through distance education, its rigorous teaching style better prepared me for university by helping me develop independent learning skills. This has made my academic life significantly easier in terms of study, time management and organization. Carnarvon Community College offers distance education though SIDE (School of Isolated and Distance Education). Although SIDE is tougher than conventional face-to-face teaching, I highly recommend it – not only as the most straightforward pathway to university, but also to develop these independent learning skills every tertiary student requires.
To those students reading this who are currently studying ATAR subjects through SIDE, please know that your efforts will pay off big time and the sacrifices that you make for better grades will reward you endlessly in university, i.e. the parties are better.
In signature fashion, my academic experiences thus far have been pretty cruisy.
Living on campus
Moving to Perth to study was a massive change of setting compared to the regional roof of my parents. I live on campus college in an apartment shared with five people who are now some of the friendliest, easy-going people I have ever met. So far, I have managed myself well by learning important skills a proper adult requires. For example, I left home with zero culinary ability but have now progressed to whip up a wonderfully mediocre pasta (I’m working on it). Living on campus also means I don’t have to stress about paying for WIFI, bills or transportation to campus as it is all covered by each week’s rent. College residents have the privilege of attending the resident events organised by the RAs. These events have allowed making friends a breeze and making good friends even easier. I highly recommend the college life.
What I hope for the future
I have a total of five years in my course and am confident in my abilities to push through to finish in 2023 and graduate in 2024. It sounds like a long way away but my life will not only revolve around study. I hope to gain more experience in the engineering field of work and secure my place in an internship.
While finishing up, I would like to thank all the staff at Carnarvon Community College who helped me get to where I am now. A very special mention goes to Mrs. Tamara Chinnery who I not only saw as the SIDE coordinator, but also a personal mentor throughout Year 12. Thank you to the friends I made at Carnarvon Community College who supported me and made the school atmosphere enjoyable and comforting. And most of all thank you to my extremely supportive parents, who set me straight and kept me motivated. These people helped me from studying away in a rural public school to sitting in the same lectures with students from the most prestigious high schools in WA.
I hope my experiences inspire you to be more ambitious with your goals and to simply think bigger.
By Prince Gupta