UNISPEAK ISSUE 3 SEPTEMBER 2013
A NEW HORIZON
SUCCESS ISN’T A DESTINATION. It’s trying as hard as you can. It’s falling flat on your face, then trying again. It’s realising the more you put in, the further you’ll go. And when it seems like there’s no end in sight, that just means you’re headed in the right direction.
UNI SPK UNISPEAK / ISSUE 3 SEPTEMBER 2013
Primary Education student. Thinks kids say the darndest things— and loves them for it.
Human geographer and PhD candidate, hails from regional NSW. Is learning things don’t always go as planned.
Wants to know what makes us tick.
MATTHEW INNES Early Years student with his eye on rural Australia.
ABBEY CUBIT Likes to stay philosophical about study options.
DARREN PETERSON Law student at home and abroad. Champion of human rights.
COVER PHOTOS Front: UOW student Josh Docking surfing North Beach, Wollongong. Back: Camel trekking in the Sahara, Morocco, uni summer break 2012. Photo courtesy of UOW student Josh Haberfield.
JYE BULL Teacher in training, mentor on the side. Knows the most valuable lessons aren’t always from textbooks.
THE YOUNG ONES Teaching is strange—it has the unusual distinction of being a profession and a calling all at once. UOW students Lydia and Matt share what it’s like helping kids get a head start on life, how they got here, and where they’re going.
WORDS BY LYDIA ZHENG Bachelor of Primary Education
Teaching at Sunday School when I was sixteen was my first experience actually educating kids, not just playing with them. I’d always got on well with children, but after running classes I realised I could be good at teaching.
Some people underestimate teachers, think we’re just here to tie up shoelaces. In high school I was told I “should do better” with my ATAR than a teaching degree. Probably the worst advice I’ve ever been given.
I really enjoy explaining things. When the kids respond—and they don’t always respond—you feel all the preparation and hard work has paid off. They’re so excited to ‘get it’. If they still remember it next week, that’s even better.
We need good teachers. When you’re teaching, you really have an effect on the kids, you’re a part of their lives and how they grow up.
I love working with kids so much. They always have something to say. They’ll just come out with the most random things: “I’ve got a hamster!”, then tell you all about it. They say what’s on their minds, they’re not scared like adults can be.
I feel important and privileged to be a part of that.
WORDS BY MATTHEW INNES Bachelor of Education – The Early Years
When I finished high school a friend was leaving a preschool that she’d been working at, and they offered me some work to fill in the gap. It’s been five years now and I love doing this. While working I studied a Diploma in Preschool Teaching at TAFE, and I’ve now gone on to my Bachelor degree. I chose UOW because I knew I’d be placed in a childcare centre for my practical placements, right from the start of the first year. Most people I meet don’t realise that early childhood teaching is a profession that requires a university qualification. And they’re very surprised that a guy is doing it—it’s nice that I can help break down those stereotypes.
I figure that while I’m still young and enjoy study, why not keep going? After I’ve graduated I’m looking at doing a Masters of Philosophy, possibly with a focus on rural early childhood education. I like the idea of doing field research with the children and staff—the opportunities through the UOW Early Start research centre will be fantastic.
WORDS BY CHARLES GILLON
MAN CTORS How we use space and natural resources is often unsustainable, frequently irrational and sometimes downright silly. This is where the field of human geography steps in, helping us understand the values and motivations behind how we shape where we live, and how to plan for a better future.
Bachelor of Science Advanced (Physical Geography, Human Geography) PhD Candidate
During my Honours year I investigated a housing development in Picton, a characteristically rural region of Sydney. This estate was sold as ‘rural living’, with bushland and agricultural elements integrated into design. I expected people would buy in to the idea of the estate, and to an extent they did, but they were only partially detached from city living. They were living ‘in the bush’, but commuting hours to their jobs in the city. Their houses weren’t really somewhere to live, they were somewhere to sleep. I looked at how residents of this estate interacted with this more natural living environment, and the plants and animals that live within it. There were positives: people in the estate definitely had an awareness of the environment around them. For example, they had rescued wounded echidnas on their property. However they retained values and ideas about how things work, and how they should use space. On large blocks of land, people still built large houses, and as the size goes up, consumption goes up. This kind of outcome intrigues me. Rural areas are undergoing extensive change, transitioning from agricultural and natural landscapes to important strategic sites for housing development. Is the natural landscape more than just something to look at? How do people interact with it, how do they change it, and how does it change them? These are the kinds of questions I’m asking in my research. The fact is, our plans and designs for how people will live in a place don’t always play out, and are always more complex than they originally seem. Human geography questions the motivations and reasoning behind how humans live— how our attitudes and values shape our practices. Investigating and challenging what is accepted as ‘given truth’ about how we live has far-reaching implications for our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with nature. Now, in my PhD research I’m looking at how humans and nature interact in master-planned estates in coastal regions. There’s quite a big body of research on how rural areas are changing, but coastal estates are under-researched at present. I hope I can identify the opportunities and challenges that come from moving from suburbia to a more natural environment, which might reduce the negative effects of human settlement. As a researcher, you start out wide-eyed, saying “I’m going to change the world”. The truth is, you can’t: not by yourself, and not all at once. That’s a part of academic life. We use other people’s work and build on it. We contribute something to the field for others, and then we move on.
GET SOME PERSPECTIVE
Getting an early offer can change how you see the HSC. Abbey and Abdul’s early admission to UOW made them realise how important the exams were—and not to stress it.
WORDS BY ABDUL LAWAL Bachelor of Psychology
Did getting an early offer change my approach to the HSC? A little bit. It was one of those things that made me realise that I was getting to the business end of things. I didn’t slack off or work three times harder all of a sudden, but it did help me realise that if I wanted a decent ATAR, it was time to focus. The process was easy: I did the online application, visited a JP to get my results signed off, and then I was fortunate enough to get an interview. It was a great to come on campus, have a look around, and to meet the academics. In the interview we talked about why I wanted to do the degree, and a bit about me. I must have done well, because a few months later I got the offer.
I’m in my second year of a Bachelor of Psychology at UOW now, and it’s only getting better. I’ve learned so much about people and about myself, how we interact, why we think what we think. And those are skills that I can take to a range of jobs. I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t do it. Going through the application and interview process with the University was a really good experience.
WORDS BY ABBEY CUBIT Bachelor of Arts – Bachelor of Commerce
Getting an early offer was such a relief. It didn’t change the way I approached the HSC, but it did take a lot of the stress out of it. I’d applied to UOW through Selective Entry in 2012, which is very similar to Early Admission, and was offered my first preference the day before my HSC English exam. Now I’m here studying my first year of a double degree, the Bachelor of Arts – Bachelor of Commerce. It’s great. I can be deep in a philosophical argument in one class, and looking up actuarial tables in the next. The accommodation guarantee was a huge drawcard for me. Coming from Bundanoon, my family didn’t spend a lot of time in
Wollongong while I was growing up. When it came to choosing a university I was considering Canberra and Sydney as well, but neither was right for me—and Wollongong is so friendly. Now I live in Kooloobong Village. It’s great there! I love living on-campus, you’re right in the middle of things. I think everyone should try living on campus, even if only for a year. If I had to start over, I’d definitely still apply for an early offer. I’m telling my brother and all my cousins to apply.
CHAMP Talking about human rights is easy enough, but it can be a life’s work understanding and protecting them. Darren Peterson went to Switzerland to learn that sometimes enforcing human rights law means rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. WORDS BY DARREN PETERSON Bachelor of International Studies – Bachelor of Laws
Human rights violations occur in every country: the difference lies in how each country addresses these violations, and the measures that are put in place. Human rights are a matter of context. Their direction has continuously followed changes in social attitudes and ideas. Implementing and enforcing human rights continues to be a challenge worldwide. The Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation is a summer school run by the University of Lucerne in Switzerland. It’s designed to teach students the realities of human rights implementation and the practical aspects of human rights litigation and advocacy. This year is the first time the program has seen students represented from every continent. We had classes and seminars from experts in their field, including a class on human rights in UN field operations from the Director of the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa. We also travelled to Geneva to attend briefings from international law organisations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the World Organisation Against Torture.
This program actually counts as a subject for my degree. One of the great things about UOW is that you’re supported and encouraged to add international experience to your studies. The highlight, though, was winning an international law moot. It was one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had in my life, but also the most rewarding. I may now be eligible for one of three internships: two in Geneva and one in South Africa. Having to stand in front of seven experienced and knowledgeable lawyers, judges and academics and present a case about law I’ve never been exposed to before (the moot was based on the European Convention on Human Rights) is not an experience I will soon forget. You have to be able to think on your feet, stand your ground, and truly believe in what you’re saying. Law is a hands-on profession. In order to succeed you need to be able to take your knowledge of the law, and the legal system in which it operates, and apply it to any problem you’re presented. The law involves a lot more than simply the cases you learn in textbooks. It is about people, and the problems they have that need legal remedy. One of the best things you can do during your legal education is to close the textbook and try your hand at applying the law.
MPIONS Emily Ryan went to Datong, China as part of Team UOW to contest the international Solar Decathlon, where teams compete to build the best sustainable model home. They were the first Australian team to compete. They submitted an unprecedented design based on retrofitting old houses. They’d never done anything like this before. They won, with the highest score in the competition’s history. WORDS BY EMILY RYAN Bachelor of Commerce (Dean’s Scholar) – Supply Chain Management
I got into the program almost by chance. I was at a UOW awards presentation when the UOW Solar Decathlon team leader Lloyd Niccol gave a short talk about the project. It sounded like a challenge, building a house here and taking it to China, so I signed up. When I first started I thought it would be a relatively little project. The first time we disassembled the house down to fit into shipping containers, it took about five days. This was when I realised the size of the project, and the amount of work involved. I led a team of six during the assembly and presentation. Primarily we were in charge of furniture and fit-out— installing the joinery, polishing the floors, painting the whole house. It’s not really anything I have a background in: it was just another chance to get involved, so I jumped in and learned along the way. In our block at the competition site, there were four houses in a row. We’d cook dinner for each other, I went to dinner at the Beijing house, and we became quite close with Team Sweden and Team Israel. A lot of visitors commented on the on the homely feel of our house. It’s great to hear someone say “I’d love to live here”. It was so important to show people you could actually live in a sustainable house. All the furniture in the house is up-
cycled and reupholstered, too, further reducing waste. We had team members from different faculties at UOW, from engineering and commerce, to graphic designers, as well as TAFE students. We all learned from each other as we went. Being in the team made me appreciate what I’ve been learning and how it works for real. I’d done a logistics subject in my degree, and it was great to get some practical experience. Before the competition, I’d never really taken notice of how many old houses we have in Australia. I started to see how many of our houses are inefficient. I realised it’s something we can all work on, and I know it’s something UOW will keep working on. Being part of Team UOW was an amazing experience, I made many great friends from it. It’s been the high point of my university days.
RENAISSANCE MAN Young Indigenous man and UOW education student Jye Bull was an unlikely starter: an academic underachiever and unfocused sportsman bound to leave school after Year 10. A chance meeting with a UOW student inspired him to try another way. Now he’s at uni and helping kids through AIME, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience.
WORDS BY JYE BULL Bachelor of Physical and Health Education
I’ll be the first to say it, in school I was always the instigator, always the class clown, acting up. I was in Year 10 when I met Jake Trindorfer, who used to lead AIME at UOW. He was at my school on teaching prac during his UOW education degree. I remember, he took me aside one day and said “Mate, what’s going on?” This was the same week he’d lost his mum, but he was still there. I was blown away, that he was there, being so open with me, taking the time. Meeting Jake was a real wake-up call, a bit of a kick in the pants. After that, it was hard for me to sit there feeling sorry for myself, or make excuses. Further education was never really on my radar, so it was hard for me making the choice to finish high school. Uni was the last thing on my mind—I figured I was leaving Year 10 and seeing what the road ahead had for me, and would probably end up in a trade. My parents never finished school, so while they’re very supportive of me now, I think it was a surprise to them that I wanted to keep studying. They just expected I’d finish in Year 10. I remember on my first day of senior high school, mum asked where I was going. She didn’t even realise I was going to do Year 11. My brother is in Year 8 now. He can’t be in AIME yet, since the program starts in Year 9, and he’s pretty upset about that. Hearing my little brother talk about wanting more education is great.
Most AIME mentoring sessions are short. We know we’re not going to change their world in an hour, but I’m happy to see growth in the kids we work with. I mentored a kid last year: he was always getting suspended, skipping classes. By the end of session he’d started putting his hand up, stepping up. I heard through his teachers he’s going to school every day, really turning his school life around. It makes you feel happy. You can’t take credit for it, though. At the end of the day they have to do it themselves. When you’re in that spotlight, being Indigenous, it’s a lot of pressure. When you’re acting against expectations, it’s not just you. You’re representing your whole family, a whole community, a tribe—all these people watching you and wanting you to do well. In the future, I’d like to teach out West when I graduate. There are some strong Indigenous communities, some big communities that need some help, especially with education. I’d also love to be a part of growing AIME. Being a mentor in AIME gives me goals, something to work for. You have to hold yourself up as a mentor, really walk the talk. In the end, though, everyone has their own journey.
Learn more at uow.edu.au/wic/communityengagement/aime
COMING SOON & THINGS TO DO EARLY ADMISSION
EARLY ADMISSION AND YOUR PREFRENCES
Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Services Bachelor of Banking and Financial Services
If you receive a successful outcome for a UOW course through Early Admission, remember that if you want to receive an offer to the course from UAC you will need to have it as your first preference at the time UAC preferences for this round close on 3 December. Head to uow.edu.au/early for more.
INTERVIEW TIPS With Associate Professor Tony Simoes da Silva, UOW Early Admission interviewer
We want to know what makes you tick, and what excites you about the course you have chosen. The interview is our opportunity to get to know you, and for you to get to know us. So be prepared to get involved in the interview, to ask questions, and to find out if UOW is the right place for you.
Watch more interview tips from Tony at uow.edu.au/future/early-admission/videos
Based at UOW’s Sydney Business School in Circular Quay, these programs from the Faculty of Business offer students the opportunity to study in Sydney’s central business district. Both degrees offer industry development opportunities where you will connect with firms and businesses directly related to your degree.
This is an excellent way to explore writing in a critical and historical context. In Creative Writing you will be able to produce new poetry, drama and short stories and reflect on these practices in relation to the history and politics of writing. It contains fewer credit points of writing subjects than the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing).
Bachelor of Arts (Photography)* Learn camera skills, digital manipulation and printing to create photographic art works. Photography will enhance your interpretative and critical analysis skills, as well as allow you to focus on or ignite a passion. This major lets you study under the guidance of some of Australia’s leading contemporary photographers.
Bachelor of Arts (Writing & English Literatures)*
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Music)
Choose the right UOW degree Set your UAC preferences See the UOW campus and facilities See the UOW accommodation residences
Bring your HSC and ATAR results on the day so we can give you the best advice. This will be your last chance to talk to UOW staff before main round preferences close on 4 January.
Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing)*
FRIDAY 3 JANUARY 2014
Academic staff from UOW, and representatives from UOW College and TAFE will be here to help you:
On-time applications to UOW through the University Admissions Centre (UAC) close 27 September.
For more information visit business.uow.edu.au
UOW OPTIONS DAY Your ATAR is higher or lower than you expected and you don’t know what to do. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, you have lots of options to continue your education.
We believe that excellence deserves reward— and if you’re willing to put in the hard yards, then so are we. UOW Scholarships and Grants will help you reach your goals. On-time applications close 30 September. uow.edu.au/about/scholarships
The focus of this major is the study of literature from various periods and literary practice (creative writing). Creative industries such as journalism, publishing, advertising, television and other media want the skills you will acquire in this major, including effective written communication and critical thinking.
9.00AM – 2.00PM IN THE UNIVERSITY HALL
Remember to be considered for guaranteed accommodation, you must apply for accommodation by 31 October. Applications can be made online, visit uow.edu.au/about/accommodation for more info.
UAC EARLY OFFER ROUND If you have a successful Early Admission notice you will receive a UAC offer on 5 December, but remember you must have your successful UOW Early Admission course as your first preference at the time UAC preferences for this round close on 3 December.
UAC MAIN ROUND Main round offers are released on the UAC Website on 16 January. Remember you will need your UAC application number and UAC PIN ready to access your offer. See uac.edu.au for more info.
UOW ENROLMENT Enrolment week will commence on January 28. Visit getstarted.uow.edu.au to find out the specific times for your degree.
The music major combines teaching in composition and performance with developments in electronic media, building your skills and expertise across three areas: music studio, audio production and critical studies in music. You will develop creative, conceptual and practical skills, as well as specialised technical skills, and a clear grasp of how your own practice relates to the wider music community. For more information visit uow.edu.au/crearts
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Photography) In photography, you’ll undertake a variety of core subjects utilising analogue and digital technologies to understand the importance of creative thinking and to equip you with the technical, aesthetic and theoretical skills you need for a career in photography.
NO BOOKING REQUIRED Arrive at a time that suits you between 9.00 am – 2.00 pm on the day.
* subject to final approval
Lydia’s studying primary education. Bachelor of Primary Education / UAC: 755112
Abbey has started a double degree. Bachelor of Arts – Bachelor of Commerce / UAC: 751301
Like what you see? These are the degrees helping our people get where they need to be.
Matthew is focused on the Early Years. Bachelor of Education – The Early Years / UAC: 755111
Darren added international studies to Laws. Bachelor of International Studies – Bachelor of Laws / UAC: 751212
Before his PhD, Charles studied geography. Bachelor of Science Advanced (Physical Geography, Human Geography) / UAC: 757601 Abdul is studying psychology. Bachelor of Psychology / UAC: 757652
Jye’s learning to be a PE teacher. Bachelor of Physical and Health Education / UAC: 755101
The University of Wollongong attempts to ensure the information contained in this publication is correct at the time of production (September 2013); however, sections may be amended without notice by the University in response to changing circumstances or for any other reason. Check with the University at the time of application/enrolment for any updated information. UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONG CRICOS: 00102E
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