Hi, my name is Dean. I am in my third year of Psych (Honours), with potentially a Masters in Organisational Psychology after that. Aside from studies at university, I volunteer at Lifeline and work on the weekend running outdoor lasertag (yes, it is as much fun as it sounds!). A few other random facts: I have a 14 year old diabetic cat who I love even though I’m allergic to him, I once slept under a bridge in Seattle and I’ve been swimming in the Amazon!
What do you see as the major challenges for students at university today?
I think the toughest challenge for many students is the internal motivation of a student. Taking away all external challenges, the students still have to want to learn and know why they need to learn. It’s only been in the last 3 years, and a change of degree (I used to be an Engineering/Science student at UNSW) that I’ve really had the purpose to back up my studies. Without drive and appreciation students simply scrape by with the bare minimum effort and can never achieve their best.
You’ve recently joined the new Partnership Program pilot where you will be seeking feedback from your unit peers and collaborating with unit convenors to make positive improvements to the learning experience. What motivated you to get involved?
If I’m being perfectly honest, I originally thought it was a fun activity with my peers that would look good on my resume. Now that I’m involved with the program I have seen the enthusiasm and commitment from both students and staff in the team. This enthusiasm has shown me the Partnership Program is a valuable channel to help others learn, not only in my cohort but in future students as well. I also really love the experience in a collaborative team environment, the sessions are run well and there’s a great positive mindset.
You’ve also agreed to be the student co-chair of a planned Students as Partners Faculty Working Group. What are your aspirations as to what this group can achieve?
I believe that Students as Partners can make a difference both immediately and in the future. Other people have realised this too; a quick google scholar search shows just how much collaborative learning is being talked about and researched, and its potential. One of the biggest potentials of Students as Partners is how engaged it can get the students. I talked before about how a big challenge was a lack of drive and a tendency for students to do the bare minimum when pushed with a big stick, and I believe that through this program we can help students to take some ownership and enjoy the rewards that come with putting energy into their studies.
What does employability mean to you?
To me employability is about how well you can use your qualifications and capabilities to sell yourself to an employer. My third year subjects, PSY332 (Principles of Psychological Assessment) and PSY338 (Organisational Psychology) have been extremely helpful in understanding the side of the employer and what they look for. I applied these practically when I recently completed a video interview (cross your fingers for me). I had prepared responses to each of the core competencies of the job; as according to the lecture I had just finished watching, and as a result could answer every hypothetical question that was asked!
What has been the most memorable experience with your studies to date?
My most memorable experience was looking at my results the semester after I made the conscious decision to work hard. I avoided looking at them for two weeks, because if I worked hard and didn’t do well it would really have sapped my motivation. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I opened up my eStudent to 3 HD’s and a D. This tangible impact of working hard and keeping up with week-to-week coursework really helped me realise the value of taking an interest in studying, with even just a few consistent hours a week.