In this first chapter ‘A Students Life, I will be telling the stories of my fellow journalism students from their childhood dreams to their career aspirations, and why they chose the University of Wollongong as part of their journey.
This collaborative series of voxpops, portraits and photos seek to give insight into the journey of a student as they study at the University of Wollongong.
As he traces out the lines of distance between himself and his girlfriend who lives 414 km’s away in Wagga Wagga on an imaginary map, I not-so-surreptitiously snap a great photo of him in his element. Perched in the natural grounds of the University of Wollongong you can see what attracted Ryan Speed to move all the way from the farming life he grew up with on the state border of NSW and Victoria in Albury–Wodonga, two towns separated by the Murray Darling River. He lives on campus accommodation and has grown accustomed to university life, but not without a frequent twinge of homesickness.
Of all the places Ryan could have chosen to study I asked him why he chose UOW. “It’s a good area here, my brother actually went to the University of Wollongong so I was sort of familiar with the area, but the course out of all the Unis, this is where the course was the best, and you get Wollongong beach too so that’s always a plus”. As young as 19 and studying a Bachelor of Media and Communication with a focus on journalism, Ryans’ dream to become a presenter on radio or television seems quite a foreseeable reality with his amiable nature that draws people to be around him.
I walk up slowly to not disturb the intensity that she is focusing on that little Jane Austin book. She looks up, not startled but at ease, her drama classes paying off in the calm intrigued look she gives me. Fresh out of high school at the tender age of 17 with hopes soaring and the future stretched out, an unimaginable abyss ahead, university life for Isabella Simonovski is just getting started. In her first year of Bachelor of Arts journalism, art and writing are her interests, “I want to be an artist or a novelist, they’re really difficult disciplines to get famous in, but hopefully I might get somewhere”.
Isabella is not like most 17 year olds, there is an air of contented ease and fluency about her that comes with experience beyond her years. I asked her why she chose the University of Wollongong, her answer surprised me “it was natural for me to go to Wollongong, I needed to be somewhere the people were friendly, and I thought… that’s Wollongong”. From an obsession with everything manga and anime to a yearning for her own series on HBO one day, this aspiring artist and novelist is a promising talent at UOW to keep an eye on.
This is not the imposed sultry stare of a selfie or the fleeting gaze of boy-struck obsession.
This is a moment that cannot escape the intense focus of devotion that she instils in her interactions with people. Natalie Hannan or Nat, as she prefers, is talking to me about her first term here at the University of Wollongong. Initially choosing marketing as her major, it wasn’t long before the socially interactive nature of journalism took Nat from a future in promotion to the absolute reconciliation that she has with her passion for people. Sitting in the quad as journalism students swarm in chattering clusters I asked Nat why she chose to change her path, “I love meeting new people and socialising, you can learn so much from others, it’s always so exciting. I hope I can always make people smile, make them happy, inspire them, feel like they can approach me, chat and form relationships”. Her instinctive desire to connect with people has led her to pursue a career in radio. I look forward to the voice of reassurance filtering across radio waves.
Interview with journalism student Steph Bentley
Producer – Caitlin Ellis
She trusted her instincts and made the life altering decision to quit the NSW police force to study a double degree of science and journalism at the University of Wollongong.
For Steph Bentley this transition was the necessary change that she needed to follow a life she could believe in. Embarking on a journey to expand her mind and broaden the way she sees the world, there was a thirst for knowledge that needed an outlet and journalism gave her that opportunity.
Why journalism students chose the University of Wollongong?
I asked a few of my fellow classmates why they chose to pursue their studies at the University of Wollongong and what they think sets it apart from other universities.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
We all had dreams when we were kids of what we wanted to do when we ‘grew up’, yet we still have those dreams. In some cases they haven’t changed at all while others have transformed dramatically, this says a little about the mind of the child, the person they’ve become and what may be to come. This will be the first in a series of voxpops and interviews that will document the lives of journalism students as we follow them on their journey.
What do you want to do when you leave university?
The University of Wollongong – Here’s a little peek into the lush campus grounds, hang-out spots, study areas, eateries and undergraduate journalism students in the midst of voxpopping, interviewing and mingling in the constant social interactions that enriches the experience here at UOW.
Students relax in one of many beautiful oases found scattered throughout the University of Wollongong. The gardens native flora attracts a variety of bird and insect life contributing to the areas thriving ecosystem. Lush green ferns and evergreens provide a sanctuary to find your thoughts, feed the desire to be carefree and escape the pressures of the demanding daily work load. The wildlife is as much a part of the grounds as the students in this parkland of ponds trickling into little streams that flow under wooden bridges and throughout the university.
Promising journalists engage in stimulating discussion inspiring each other in a reverb of creative enthusiasm. The journey through university can be a special time in life, to be a part of something important and do something meaningful. The University of Wollongong provides this outlet with an interactive experience that encourages students to want to access a part of themselves that explores the world through knowledge. Many students share this interest in making connections with their surroundings, one of the main reasons people choose to come here is to nourish the soul as well as the mind.
Eateries, study and hang-out spots and more…