This is the transcript for the audio Non recent school leaver experience

Hi Jess Clayman and Welcome to your path to UTS. 

Your path to UTS

In this episode we are chatting about non-recent school leavers.

G’day my names Brandon, and I’m about to turn 23, and I’m currently studying in my third year of Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Management.

My name is Georgina and I’m 22, and I’m in my penultimate year of Bachelor or Business and Bachelor of Law at UTS.

Why did you choose to study at UTS?

So look to be completely honest, when I was looking at Universities, the one big time that caught my attention was the Moore Park campus. I was really drawn at the idea of working in pretty much the state-of-the-art facility. Just the facility alone I mean you’re right at the heart of NSW sporting heartland. I mean everyday you’re exposed to the Wallabies, Sydney Roosters, the Swans, the Sixers so  it really creates this amazing opportunity to apply your theoretical knowledge in a way that allow you to see the outcomes and the results in a real high performance setting so that was really what drew me to UTS from the get-go.

Georgina, why did you choose to study at UTS?

So, I graduated high school in 2015, and in 2016 I actually commenced uni somewhere else – not at UTS and I find that it wasn’t a gool cultural fit for me personally. And then over that summer period of December 2016 to February 2017, I was actually working with a team with UTS students and kind of over the course of 3 months they wore me down and got me to transfer. And essentially the thing that they’re telling me about was that UTS focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship and this was generally the areas that I was interested in from a Business and Law perspective. So, it just seems like a really good fit and they spoke of very highly about the culture at UTS, while is also still maintained that academic rigour that I was looking and so I’ve transferred! And it was a great decision!

Fantastic! What do you think are some of the challenges you both had faced as a non- recent school leaver or as a mature aged student? You’re both quite young but more as a mature aged student?

Well, I mean for me personally, when I graduated in 2015, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I did take a few years off and similarity I was working full time at Nike, went backpacking for three months in Europe, so when I first sat down and thought yeah ok “ I going to go back to University”, my biggest fear was thinking that someone who just coming out of HSC, going into school and I’ll be out of the rhythm of the study life, how am I going to apply myself? What technique suit my study habits? Have I forgotten how to study, period. They were kind of my first big issues thinking about University, and even like leading up to the first week, I was on Google looking up; “how to do uni?”, “What to expect from University?” I think there were some pretty big fear though, especially like once you get to University, you realise that it’s not just students straight out of high school. There’s a massive range of people, whether its change of career choice, whether you’ve went backpacking, or took a few years off school. I mean in my first few weeks I undertook these free seminars, and they were run by UTS themselves and they were on maths or science, and they were essentially kind of like revision for HSC. There were students that were going there, and it really just helps to refresh my mind on what is expected of me and how to  apply the content and really gave me the confident that I needed to ensure that, “Ok I can do this.”, and that I was prepped for uni. So that’s what really helped me when I first started.

Fantastic, and Georgina, what about you? What are some of the challenges that you think you faced?

For me personally I think the biggest challenges that I faced are more from the social aspect. I was very nervous about transferring Universities because I kind of had establish my social network already where I was at in 2016, so transferring somewhere else is like starting it fresh all over again. And a lot of the faculty societies offer a lot of first year camps for students and that’s where people get to know each other. I obviously was missing that because I attended a different University so, I was very worried about how I was literally going to make friends, which sounds a bit silly in retrospect but at the time it was the only thing on my mind.

No not at all!

But thankfully, it was a lot easier than I anticipated where I kind of tried to get involved with extracurricular and you do a lot of groupwork and you kind of naturally develop that relationship especially when you’re doing certain degrees which has a quite a prescribed subject pathway where you’ve seen the same faces over and over again. They’re kind of forced to be your friend, because you see them all the time. But yes, that’s the biggest challenge for me I think.

How do your pathways for UTS prepare you for University?

Well look after HSC, I was playing representative rugby league and to kind of fill in my space I actually ended up working full time for Nike, just the retail store and I’ve eventually worked my way up to a management position. So again, me playing Rugby throughout my entire life, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of sport and exercise science, it’s always been a passion of mine. Well however, when I was working full time, I really gained a deep interests and importance in business practices and aspects. I’ve never studied business in high school at all, so it’s a whole new realm for me, so again working in that managerial leadership kind of role, and having the opportunity to challenge myself, in ways I’ve never thought possible.

Yeah it eventually kind of seem to come together and flow together, literally the whole work process. It’s hard to explain but I’ve just had a whole new like for business really so, I wanted to find a degree in which I’m not only passionate about but challenge me to further gain my knowledge and transferrable skills, though looking through different Universities, I found that Sports and exercise management at UTS that had the best of both worlds so, the sports and exercise science which I was passionate about but also have the focus on business and managerial skills. So, it’s kind of all just mould into one, a perfect degree for me.

Georgina how about you? How do you think your journey prepared you for UTS?

For me, it’s more so the fact I knew what I wanted to get out of not just my degree but also my University experience. I knew that I wanted to be more involved in the University student life, than just going to classes and going home and so as a result, I think I was more open minded to different opportunities as they presented themselves, which has enriched both my personal and professional life. Which is very cliché’ but that would be one for me.

And how do you think your studies at UTS have enhanced your career going forward?

I think just the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills to the learning environment, with academics who are experts in their field of health specifically has been a massive massive improvement and change, and like you really are learning from the best of the best like through subjects. So additionally, just through conversations and networking with staff and teams. I’m currently undergoing and internship with the NSW institute of Sport, so I’m currently a performance analyst with the men’s and women’s field hockey side.

Georgina, how do you think UTS studies has enhanced you career going forward? 

I think just UTS generally they have a lot of professional development opportunities, which I’ve been taking advantage off. So for example, one of the things that UTS has, is the BUILD program, which is all about developing your leadership skills and global mindset So they have a lot of workshop opportunities and international placement opportunities, so I was able to go to New York City and intern for a non- for profit over there for 2 months which is an awesome experience. And they’ve got more basic services available there as well, they really help me fix up my resume, where I was able to secure that internship. Which sounds a bit silly but the amount of change that they provided me within a 30 minute session was unbelievable and its really help me from a recruitment perspective and getting through the different stages and teaching me how to write a cover letter for example, but then focusing on my subjects more specifically, a lot of my work in marketing which is my major for my business degree is quite project based. So, you will spend the semester working on an issue for a set company and you’ll be working with quite a diverse team and working to come up with a solution and to present it back. And those kinds of skills are very transferrable to the actual career path. Whatever they may be. But you take certain presentation skills, problem solving skills, and also it’s something you can talk about in your interviews, cause its quite practical and applicable across the board.

Absolutely; and it’s amazing too, two months in New York that would have been phenomenal!

Yeah, it was a lot of technical skills, so I’m interested in the not for profit space so I was working with razors edge which is kind of a CRM system specifically for not for profits and getting used to that. I did a lot of writing as well for their website, a lot of search engine optimisation which was my first exposure to that kind of thing, so it was very technical but on a more kind of soft skills basis, it was a lot of independence that I guess I wasn’t really used to as much – living at home with my parents for the rest of my degree, but it was awesome cause you have a high level of accountability particularly because it was a full time roll.

And you both have has such incredible experiences then. Brandon with your internship with NSW sports institute, Georgina heading over to New York – have you had any other extra curriculars at Uni that you have taken up during your studies?

Well yeah, with myself I try to and again it’s a passion of mine, but I really like to kind of expand my knowledge in all kind of areas and try and find some transferable skills, so I know late last year I was a part of this sports injury management and rehab sessions, it was actually run by the head physio from the Sydney FC football club so I do want to go along the line and apply for the Masters of Physio next year. But even earlier this year I went and did the Cert 3 in fitness and I’m currently doing the Cert 4 in personal training so that’s through TAFE NSW but it’s done by Recognition of Prior Learning so a lot of those things which are a part of that course, I’ve actually done and even more so it’s kind of like an accelerated version of getting those qualifications and it’s just expanding my knowledge and skills for my future career and you know what employers love that, like you said Georgina who has taken the initiative and is passionate about something to further enhance their skills and knowledge.

Yeah absolutely, the one thing that’s really coming across with you Brandon too, is just how many industry connections you have been able to take advantage of while studying at UTS, you’ve had so many different tie ins to really top-notch sporting teams and clubs and different sporting organisations as well.

I mean absolutely, I mean look anyone can read a book and learn about things but actually applying it to real life setting and you know for example one week in class you would have the head Waratah’s exercise sport scientist the next week you’d have the Sydney Swans nutritionist so it’s a very multi-faceted kind of program and you are subject to all these different areas.

Georgina, how about you, have you taken up any extracurricular activities while at Uni?

Yeah, so as I kind of mentioned before I, when I transferred to UTS I kind of wanted to dive head first into everything that it had to offer so one of the things that I was doing last semester was social netball at UTS, which is just kind of a really nice way to de-stress and really build those relationships with your peers, another thing that’s been available to me through UTS careers hub primarily is where I found these opportunities is different internships that I’ve been able to pursue, which they all have listed there which is a really awesome resource for students and then I’ve also been fairly involved with different societies on campus so in 2017 I was part of the marketing sub-committee for the UTS Business society, which was a really awesome experience cause you’ve essentially got to manage different social media channels and develop and execute different marketing campaigns for certain events. But more recently I have been involved with the UTS consulting club, which is essentially all about problem solving and developing those critical thinking and analysis skills as well as presentation skills and stuff like that which has been really awesome so I’m currently the human resources director for that society and we’re in our recruitment phase for semester two at the moment, so I’ve been fairly busy with that and then additionally on top of that I entered earlier this year the Microsoft protégé case competition, so that an Australian wide case competition where we were essentially tasked with developing a technology based solution to assist in the bush fire recovery efforts. I entered with a team of friends, we all came from different faculties, different backgrounds and we developed a tech base solution and we ended up placing second in Australia.

Oh, congratulations! You guys are both so busy, you do so much – do you have any tips for students on how to balance study and work and other commitments?

I’m probably not the best person to speak to about that, like we all have some bad habits. I know me when it comes to committing myself to a goal or a challenge, I make sure I go above and beyond. That’s just me personally, everyone has their own specific and unique ways of finding things that works for them. Like a few tips, people don’t need to leave things to the last minute, create a schedule or a routine especially with how busy I have been in the last six months or so, just trying to stick to that routine. I’m a big believer though if you do find something that interests you and you do have a passion for it, you’ll never study a day in your life again.

So, for me this has been a constant struggle, for a good maybe five years now, I really like to really do a lot of different extracurricular, I feel like that add a lot to my personal development. But I have struggled with finding a balance. So, I have a few tips that I hope would help people. First one would be: be realistic with what you can personally do and don’t measure how much you can fit into one semester compared to someone else, we’ve all got different levels of what is balance for us if that makes sense. For me whenever I am working heavier hours, doing more extra-curricular, I actually like to go down to three subjects a semester and then over the summer period I will just do one or two subjects to make sure I’m staying on track with my degree and that’s been so awesome for me and its really helped me balance everything because I know there’s people that can go full steam ahead for eight months but for me I’m just not that kind of person I kind of risk burning out. So that’s helped me stay a lot mentally healthier I think as well is an important consideration. And then also a bit more of a niche recommendation, but google calendar – I am obsessed with it it’s how I organise my time I but everything in and I kind of colour coordinate it make sure that I’ve literally got balance in my life.

Me too

I’m still exercise and seeing my friends and family and I’m still doing my University and I’m still doing my work.

Now this year has been quite a different one for so many reasons but one of the most challenging and difficult things that a lot of students have found is how the Covid-19 pandemic has been impacting their study. How is your course running now with Covid-19?

I yeah look it’s been a massive change not just for University and classes I mean for all aspects, daily life, family, employments. It’s really kind of hit everything you know. It’s been difficult, but I mean after the first week of face to face classes this was prior to that big peak in Covid cases UTS went completely online and I’ll be honest I was a bit concerned at the beginning considering how especially my course is quite hands on, it’s very practical kind of degree. But I got to say I was pretty surprised with how fluid and supportive the transfer was, just from the face to face classes to all online. Like the teaching staff, the support staff, even just the content and your access to resources was incredible. All our lectures were recorded, which they usually are anyway but all our tutorial classes became like webinars over zoom, I think the teaching staff did a fantastic job just transferring all the content over to the online format and it really, it was actually really smooth it minimised any teaching disruption.

How about you Georgina?

Early on in the semester I was definitely a bit apprehensive with how this was all going to work. I’m personally quite a social person, so I like to interact with other people a lot and being stuck at home with my immediate family has definitely posed some challenges. In relation to my course, yeah it was pretty similar we just had our lectures recorded online and they were available via blackboard and then my tutorials were primarily held on zoom,  which was really awesome but I think the point that I just want to reiterate is I think the teaching staff were extremely accommodating to different personal circumstances with everything going on relating to Covid-19. I think different families, different people have been hit hard cause of the way the economy is suffering and they were very responsive to any issues that we had. I know one of my subjects I was doing equity and there were different topic and principals that I was really struggling with but I was able to email my tutor and he provided me with additional resources to support me in my assessments and to make sure I was understanding as best I could the content which was really awesome. But what was really interesting for me was the way that exams were run because that was a whole new experience all of my exams have been previously in person sitting at a desk you got two-three hours then they’re done, but the way that they were running it this semester was for a few of my exams we were given a certain time frame so 24 hours, 48 hours – we get given the question or questions and then you just submit anytime within that time frame. And that was a really nice way to do it cause it kind of reduced a lot of stress that usually surrounds exams, so I actually really enjoyed that!

Well Brandon and Georgina thank you so much for joining us, really appreciate it!

No, thank you!

Thank you so much!

That was Brandon Egan Waters and Georgina Scott, for more information you can head to

Thanks for joining us.