Tips for University and Pre-Career Success

We asked current student, Maitland Bezzina, to share his story and advice for success.

Maitland talks about the importance of getting involved in campus life activities, how to make positive change, the confidence you need to succeed, scholarship opportunities, and taking care of yourself.

Find out how you can succeed at university…

G’day fellow students. I would like to first thank everyone who is taking the time to reflect on my two cents when it comes to thriving and surviving at CQUniversity.

My name is Maitland Bezzina, I am a not-so mature aged student at the ripe old age of 26. I have lived an extremely diverse life for a half-Maltese farming family descendant from Mackay. I started my adult life as a professional Flamenco Dancer/Acrobat in 2012, eventually making the transition to becoming a professional Muay Thai fighter.

This was short-lived after shattering my left hand and breaking my foot on my last opponent, however, I somehow managed to end up winning this bout and retired undefeated 4-0.

From 2016, I moved to more traditional roles of construction labouring, farm-handing, staff management and inventory analysis and by 2019 I finally transitioned to studying a degree in Business (Financial Planning) and Accounting at CQUniversity in Mackay.

My first tip from what you have just read is that it is certainly okay to take your time, explore different opportunities and find the career you are truly passionate about. I literally broke bones to discover my passion for finance, and to this day I still believe it was worth it. My ambition is to intertwine my finance skills and passion for renewable energy and sustainable business practices to make a real difference in Queensland. This goal is also what keeps me going during those horrible exam blocks.

As part of my two cents, I would like to share with you five topics that have kept me focused, grounded, and motivated during my first two years at CQUniversity. My intention to writing this blog as a CQUniCares Scholarship recipient is that I hope to make a positive change to just one you who may be looking for that one reason to stick around, or a reason to push even harder for better grades and scholarships.

University Engagement:

The first tip is by far the easiest; engage in university events and utilise the tools available to you. In Mackay, we have monthly BBQ’s, the annual toga party, University Ball, sports events, trivia nights and a plethora of other fun activities available to the students. Even if you may not feel like it at first, I recommend you get up off the couch and get out and meet the other students on your campus. I have been fortunate enough to meet a bunch of lovable larrikins like myself who enjoy meeting up every few weeks and having a cold beer around a fire, exploring the Mackay region and supporting the university events that occur throughout the year. We have had a blast and it is thanks to these events that we were able to meet each other in the first place.

The second step I would recommend taking is to make use of the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) and Studiosity, especially those who are new to university. When I first started at CQUniversity, I had no idea how to write logically and to the point, but thanks to my local ALC professional Lyn Forbes-Smith, we have developed my skills to allow me to consistently achieve distinctions and high distinctions each term. These tools are completely free and will set you up with the skills required to craft high-level academic pieces.

Community Engagement – Make a Positive Change:

Community engagement is an extremely broad term; however, the basic idea is that by volunteering a little of your time towards something you are passionate about, you can make a real difference in your local community. Perhaps there is an issue or a problem that needs solving. You can use the support of the CQUniversity or join a not-for-profit organisation to help make a social change.

In Mackay there is an increasing problem of loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly, so for part of 2020, I got involved to help make a difference to this issue. I would highly recommend getting involved in your community, even if it is to add an attractive ‘volunteer’ section your resume. I guarantee you will find the experience fulfilling and it will instil an additional sense of purpose in your life.

You ARE good enough:

I know as a fact there will be a people reading this who will second guess their ability to participate in these activities and opportunities. I have seen numerous fellow students tell me they could never put themselves in the ‘nerve-wracking’ situations I put myself in, however, I wanted to use one of these tips to highlight that you, yes ‘you’ reading this, are working towards an extremely high level of education. You made it to university and your intelligence and ability to perform under pressure are real. Even if you may not believe in yourself to do these things yet, if it counts for anything, I believe in you. The best thing you can do if something does not work out is to reflect, learn and grow, and by putting yourself out there and having a go you are giving yourself every chance for growth and development towards a better ‘you’.

Scholarships and Direct Career Opportunities:

This tip is very dear to me as I have been lucky enough to have acquired two scholarships and my first entry-level accountant job, all during COVID-19. I have applied twice for scholarships through CQUniversity with both applications being successful. My two scholarships combined are valued at approximately $72,500. Yes, you read that correctly, and it was all because I believed in myself and wrote a few thousand words. This has been life-changing to me.

What I can advise my peers is that it is worth your time to sit down for a few hours after each term,  complete the scholarship application and keep checking back for new scholarships each term. When you submit your application, the CQUniversity scholarship team will put your application into any other scholarships you may not know you were eligible for. This was actually how I acquired my first scholarship!

Self-Reflection and Taking Care of Your Mental Health:

Your mental health during university is key to your success and ability to make it through this, at times, arduous experience. I have lost family members, developed kidney stones, and had many other personal issues during my past two years at CQUniversity and I am sure you reading this have gone through your own personal challenges. There is help available to you at our university and I implore anyone who is not feeling okay to talk to someone. I also recommend keeping active and finding a hobby to keep yourself busy during quiet times. I dug out and grew my own 16m x 2.5m garden patch. It gets me outside and allows me to reflect on things happening in my life which is very therapeutic.

I truly hope that these tips have helped spark an idea or inspiration to a fellow student who is looking to do a little more during their time at university. I would also like to add that I am always free for a chat to any students out there who are looking for scholarship advice, or for ways to get involved in CQUniversity events and opportunities.

Have a fantastic Christmas break and let’s make 2021 special!


Term 1 2021 Applications close on 08 January. Take this opportunity to apply now!

To apply for CQUniversity scholarships, complete the form that applies to you:

You will then be considered for all CQUniversity scholarships for which you are eligible.

We also recommend that you consider the range of external scholarships and bursaries that are available. To apply for an external scholarship or bursary, visit www.cqu.edu.au/scholarships and refer to the Apply Now section for instructions.

Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a financial boost. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the scholarships team at scholarships@cqu.edu.au.

Written by Maitland Bezzina.

Leave a Reply