A letter to my first-year self

CQUni graduate and current student Kris Homann has a look back on his past as a first-year student to discuss the things he wished he knew before he started his university journey.

Kris completed a Diploma of Work Health and Safety in 2016 as well as a Bachelor of Accident Forensics in 2017. Kris is currently undertaking a Master of Advanced Safety Science Practice at CQUniversity.

Dear Kris,

It’s time to reflect on your academic journey with CQU. Before you began your studies, you held a fear of educational institutions based on your high school experiences, and a ton of self-doubt about your academic abilities.  People would tell you that you were intelligent, but you would never believe them. Starting at CQU was possibly the scariest things you’ve done to this point as it was the first major decision you made by yourself and for yourself. You will look back in time and realize that it was the best decision you’ve made!

The most important thing you will learn in your time at CQU is that you don’t know what you don’t know. At first, this won’t make any sense, but after a while, you will begin to understand what this really means. It means that there are always new things for you to learn, and it is always possible to gain a deeper understanding of things you already know.

In time you will learn that the “if it’s not due tomorrow, it doesn’t get done today” approach to assessment work is not an efficient way to maximize your time. You will learn to make the most of your studies by getting involved with as many extra-curricular things as possible as this gives you the widest exposure to the greatest variety of likeminded thinkers and leaders that you could ever wish for. Being part of Ashoka-U’s only change-maker university in Australia will really drive you to examine the world around you on all levels and look for ways to improve it.

Your study will be a lot easier when you finally understand that there is no perfection in life.

There is always room for improvement and time for change. Understanding this will take a lot of stress out of your life because you will be able to relax knowing that whatever you submit for assessment will be the absolute best you could do in the time you were given. These assessments, with revision, will shape your thinking and future academic journey. Being a perfectionist is a good thing, as you will constantly look for ways to improve whatever project you are involved with, but you will never be truly happy with the final product, and it will take you time to accept this.

There will be times where study demands seem to become insurmountable and you will need to take a step back, look at the big picture and break everything down into smaller components so that you can more effectively time manage and dedicate resources appropriately. This ties back in with being a perfectionist…allocate yourself a period of time appropriate to the task, do your best within that time frame and then move on. If you have time after everything is completed, then, and ONLY then, go back and revise and tweak if need be. Also, there is no shame in asking for an extension if you really need it!

“knowledge weighs nothing to carry and costs nothing to share, so always collect more and share it widely”

You may not know this now, but after you graduate, you will miss the camaraderie of your class mates. They will drive you crazy at the time, but you will bond with them and form lifelong professional relationships that will support you for the rest of your career. You will thrive and grow in the academic environment. This will push you on to further study which will both fulfill your need to live up to your grandmothers constant reminder that “knowledge weighs nothing to carry and costs nothing to share, so always collect more and share it widely”, as well as keep you out of a lot of trouble.

After you graduate, you will continue to study further, find your self-worth and your place in the world and ignite your passion for making real, meaningful, change in the world. So, keep pushing and know that the reward is exponentially worth the effort it costs.

Want to give your advice to incoming students? Alumni can sign up to the 30 Minutes a Month program and complete monthly tasks to earn rewards while assisting future students in preparing for the learning journey ahead.

cqunilifeguest (https://cqunilife.com)

Leave a Reply