The Adventures of: My Degree and Me

I’ve only been out of university a few months, yet it feels like an eternity. I had so much fun and did so much cool stuff; I didn’t realize it was going to be over so quickly. Maybe, had I ‘accidentally’ failed a couple of subjects I could have extended my degree a little longer. Nevertheless, I am done now and am facing the big, scary, real world.

People always ask me, “What did you actually get out of the last three years?” Well…


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No, not those guys! I now have a group of fantastic new friends who all love and appreciate the same things I do. It doesn’t sound that important, but friends who make films always need a crew they can trust, which puts me in prime position! They can also act as an ‘inside man’ in companies you are looking to achieve employment with.

I should probably clear up that I don’t just have friends for convenience; I can just be a nice person. However, it’s just worth mentioning that friends in high places don’t just appear by themselves.


As I mentioned before, I’ve done a lot of cool stuff in three years. The practical element of the Bachelor of Applied Media has allowed me to be heavily involved in industry experience both in and outside of the course content. Here’s the highlights reel:

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Channel Nine News Package:
A friend and I had the amazing opportunity to create a news package to be played on Channel Nine 6 o’clock News. I was in charge of the audio and journalism whilst my friend was the cameraman. The best bit about the experience was that the legendary BRUCE PAIGE was our mentor.

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My own music festival:
As my independent project in third year, I adopted the role of Community Engagement Officer (CEO) of Phoenix Radio, creating and strengthening the connection between the station and local community. Being as audacious as I am, I thought a free music festival sponsored by USQ and Phoenix Radio would be perfect.

After months of preparation, we streamed an entire music festival online and exposed the community to local artists. It was a big success for the university, radio station, and personally.

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Short Films:
Going back to the point of having industry friends, I have filled in on heaps of different projects that friends have needed help with. Anything from holding boom poles, to camera work, and even a sneaky cameo or two, wherever I could help and get my name on the credits was a big bonus to me.


I don’t work a 9-5 job. I am much, much busier than that. I have somewhat expanded my role as Community Engagement Officer of Phoenix Radio, now organizing and producing gigs in Ipswich once a month. Being producer is great, because I can practically do all of my work from home, sending emails and contacting local artists. I have also been recently promoted to content coordinator for online music magazine Writing, editing, and uploading music reviews throughout the week is a tedious, yet rewarding experience and once again, can be done from behind a computer at home.

In an attempt to leave the house at some point, I also have picked up temporary work as a voiceover artist and am in the process of writing a story for Channel Seven News. I always knew that I couldn’t just walk into my dream job, so all of this has kept me busy and working while I aim towards my goal of working for Triple J.

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Until next time,


New to USQ? The A-Z of student emotions

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Whether you are new to student life or a seasoned third year psychology student like me, I think that we can all agree that studying at university is a holistic journey that emotions are no exception to! Some might liken it to a rollercoaster ride, riding a wave of emotions along the way.When I look back on my journey through uni, I realise that I have literally felt the whole kit and caboodle from elation to almost panic and everything in between.
Recently I asked a few of my friends at uni what their experience has been like and it seems that there is no avoiding the ever-changing nature of emotions including all the ups and downs of student life. It makes sense though right? Of course you are going to feel upset or even disappointment when you miss out on the grade you were hoping for – remember it’s a good thing because it means that we care! We are all studying at uni chasing our dreams, interests or future careers. I don’t know about you, but my dreams mean a lot to me, this is why we cry when we feel over-whelmed by the enormity of them and become excited as they inch closer and closer until you can almost touch them.

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Yes, that was actually me! So, there is no avoiding the experience of the whole spectrum of emotions, it seems that they are necessary to our growth but what helps manage them?

I have found that balance and support play a huge part in my stress and anxiety levels at uni. It wasn’t until my second year of uni I started to realise that I REALLY needed more of the B-word. So I took a summer semester to lighten the course load for my third year. I am glad that I did because I feel more motivated than ever with only three courses that I have to focus on now (rather than four), also meaning less procrastination – Woohoo. I am also getting better at asking my friends and family for support, asking if they can help by cooking dinner tonight while I read a chapter of my text book. I have also always been a big fan of The Learning Centre at uni, when I was finding my statistics course really challenging I was able to receive maths support which was really helpful.
Everyone’s journey is unique, but I promise some days you will laugh and others you will feel a little lost. Remember you are not alone, we are all in this together (newbies and 3rd years alike)! The adjustment into self-directed learning, where there are no teachers hovering behind your back, only your conscience on either shoulder is sometimes difficult. The transition into freedom can be a double edged sword because with freedom comes responsibility. I think though if we can just remember to check in with ourselves regularly on the question of balance and support, we can manage our emotions and stress levels just that little bit better!

Let’s start a conversation, share your successes with me and your peers or tell us what your barriers or fears have been along the way!

- Krisi

How my study is like a dinner party

So I feel as though I’m right in the middle of an extravagant dinner party right now and it’s been going on for about a few weeks. Why, you might ask? Well.

  •          I’m currently completing my 3rd year of my psychology (honours) degree. And,
  •          I am doing this full time – so I’m completing 4 subjects. And,
  •          Adding on top of this the 3 casual jobs that I am involved in. And!
  •          I am currently undergoing work placement at Lifeline as a phone crisis supporter (which is the new job name for a phone counsellor).

Pretty cool, right? However, you may ask: ‘Nick, how do you do it? How are you surviving?!’ Well.

It’s not actually all that bad. In fact, I feel as though I’m kind of at a dinner party. I’m really enjoying it all. I’m really enjoying all of the subjects that I am involved in (some of which are actually really, super-duper cool). I enjoy my casual jobs and work placement for lifeline is surreal.

It’s kind of like… I’m at the table, and there is so much awesome food there that I just am not sure how to approach it. A little bit of this, a little bit of that? Or do I grab a great big slab of that delicious looking mud cake? But what if I run out of time/room in my belly? Oh wait a second… maybe I do want to try that octopus over there… Surely it would taste good, right? I am a huge fan of calamari and a bit of an adventure-seeker. Or perhaps the mud cake first…

So there are kind of a lot of different foods to eat. A lot of new food that I haven’t experienced before. A lot of people around me who are interested in how I’m going and what I’m doing. So yeah, there’s a lot. I’m busy, but it’s a good busy. A happy busy.

On top of it all, I try to go to gym, stay healthy, and also maintain a dignified social life instead of becoming a reclusive hermit.

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No, the other type of hermit…

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Yes, that’s better.

And no. I can’t grow a beard that fabulous. Yet.

I get through it all though (at least I normally do) and I do it with quite a bit of aplomb.

The work placement at Lifeline is pretty much the main course for me right now. It’s the big juicy roast sitting right smack-bang in the middle of the table looking a million dollars. And it is the main reason I’m writing to all my fine readers today, actually. I’m sure some of you have gone through some sort of work placement in your lives, but for those who haven’t (or haven’t done it for uni), I thought I’d give you a run down on how it goes.

The university organised it all for me, which is spectacular. They got me into contact with Lifeline and started the whole process off. I basically walked into the door for the first day of training without having organised a thing. Pretty great.

I went through a few weeks of training (about two days a week) to gain a proper understanding of how to take calls, how to communicate with the callers, and how to relieve their distress. Throughout the training, I got to observe one of my supervisors taking real calls on the phone, which was a great learning experience.

I finished the training, and have now had 3 shifts on the phones talking to anyone who needs help. It’s been a valuable learning experience already and I’ve enjoyed it beyond my 32wildest expectations. Yes, it has been very difficult and challenging for me, but it’s been a good difficult and challenging.

I’ve taken calls about suicide, mental health issues, family and relationship issues and many other difficulties in people’s lives. It’s amazing to be in the human services work place environment – it’s a great experience for me and I know it will be an invaluable experience.

Until next time!

Dear ‘nervous-final-year’ Jordan

With the return of semester one, I thought I’d take a similar approach to fellow USQ blogger Kara (see Kara’s blog “advice for my pre-exam self”

Dear ‘nervous-final-year’ Jordan,

HAPPY ACADEMIC NEW YEAR! March came around so quickly and now it is time to get back into the swing of things.

At this point, it is important to set yourself up for success and turn over a new leaf with positive study habits. 2014 is a big year for you Jordan; Not only are you preparing for your final year of university, but you’re also going to have to juggle it alongside full-time work.  It’s not enough to just set your new year’s resolutions; you need to think how you will actually keep them.

Build a study time table. Keep up to date with readings. I know these have been your academic ‘new years’ resolutions’ for the past few years, but you need to now more than ever. Finishing assignments the night they’re due is no longer an option for you. Start early, plan ahead and you’ll have plenty of time to edit without the pressure. Every opportunity to study should be taken – like your train rides to and from work.

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After four years of full-time on-campus study I know that the idea of finishing university online can seem a tad daunting. Always remember, if you are ever concerned you have an amazing support network of family, friends and university staff you can call on. The lecturers have consultation times set aside for student questions and they’ll only be a phone call or email away. Speak to work about your studies and I’m sure they will be able to be flexible when it comes to exam time.

I know you’ll be missing the social side of university, but online study isn’t as lonely as you may think. You can be just as involved in social and discussion forums available on the course pages; if that isn’t enough, you can always set up study groups.

Finally, don’t forget to look after yourself! Not only will you have limited time for study during the week, but you’ll also have to make time for exercise, downtime and (most importantly) sleep! Take a deep breath. Stay focused. Eat well. Have fun. Set yourself goals for this year and work towards them.

Best wishes always and I cannot wait to see what adventures you’ll have this year!

Good luck!

From ‘optimistic-future’ Jordan

Flume Study Tips Video

Some of you may have seen my ‘Flume study tips video’ on USQ’s Facebook page and although it is mostly a fun dig at revising the meaning of some of theories that I had to learn for my social psychology exam, I also really do have faith in the power of music.

When I am feeling really stressed and I am alone in the car, you can bet your bottom dollar that I have the music cranking. I – love – to – sing – in – the – car! I am a firm believer in killing two birds with one stone (that’s the time management side of me), think health, fitness and stress relief. You can sometimes catch me going for a run, supposedly getting exercise but you can bet that I didn’t go without my music, which is what I find relaxes me especially before a big exam.  Whether you like to jam like me or you simply want to chat to others who are students just like you, I encourage you to get connected and involved with the USQ community and share your experiences. You never know, if you’re lucky you may even win a onesie like I did!
What’s your go-to study anthem?

- Krisi

The (un)official university bucket list

Having just finished my Bachelor of Applied Media at USQ, I feel like there are things everyone should experience in their time at university. Therefore, I have collated the top five things you should have on your university bucket list.


This is the most stereotypical choice of things to do before you graduate, but probably the most important. The more you learn through these lectures, the more chance you have of winning trivia Tuesdays. It’s not easy though, there’s a very fine art to slipping into another lecture. There are several key factors you have to be aware of when choosing a class to drop in on.

How big is the class?

It’s very important to not pick a class with 3 people, for the obvious reasons. Research popular courses and make a wise estimate on the amount of people pre-lecture. Also, be aware that different times of year effect class sizes (eg exam block).

Don’t pick something you’re not interested in.

I once sat in on a Psychology lecture with a friend, thinking I would be able to mind-read by the end of it. Turns out, the course was actually statistics, which is basically just maths. Ugh, what a terrible judgement error.

Have a clear getaway plan.

As I found in the above statistics class, it’s a lot harder to get out of a lecture than it is to get in. This plan must be thought out before enduring three hours of unanticipated pain.

Basically, if you are going to do it, PLAN FIRST!


Most people won’t have a choice in this one, but you can make it worth your while. This is always a much better activity when you have company, so be sure to schedule particular nights with a large group to endure it together.

With Dominos always extending their opening hours, food for thought is never an issue when smashing out assignments. Small snacks are also recommended, but aim for fruit over lollies to avoid the ominous sugar crash at 3am.

Also, organising brain-break activities is essential for group sessions. Watching an episode of Breaking Bad after every two hours of study was a favourite of mine last year.



When was the last time you wore your pyjamas somewhere other than your bedroom? How many opportunities are you going to get to wear them out in public? These points make this section of the bucket list imperative! If you are living in on-campus accommodation, you have the opportunity to do this every week, so don’t pass it up.

Alternatives accepted are a kilt, wetsuit, onesie, or half-shirt (a shirt cut in half) which yes, I have witnessed before.


Understandably, when you are running late, sacrifices have to be made. Often this leads to breakfast (the most important meal of the day) being skipped. I would put a box of fruit loops and a bowl in my backpack and hope I could find milk somewhere. Of course, going one step further, feeding your friends bacon and eggs during a lecture is a sure hit when group work comes around.



Trust me, you are going to need to. When the table gets hot, you want to be able to stay in the kitchen, because there’s major reputation on the line.

Above all else, this list is about having fun and not getting overworked during your degree.

If you are a future student, write these bad boys down for later.

If you are a current student, make sure you’ve done them before you leave.

If you have already finished and are missing ticks on this list, enrol in a masters of something and finish what you started!

Until next time,

USQ Springfield O-week!

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For those of you more experienced students who are going to o-week for the second, third of even forth time- I do not blame you!

How could you not want to go?? Gaining a connection with people of similar interests to your own, learning about your own important role in the growth of our campus, and tonnes of free stuff: food, stickers, rulers, booklets, food, pens, lollies, great information and oh yeah, food.

Honestly it’s a student’s dream come true.

But for those of you who have never been before, fear not.

I too, was once a first-year student and here was what I thought the “O” in O-week stood for:

  • OMG, what do I wear on my first day? (You’d think this one only applies to the ladies, but you’d be surprised…)
  • Over-estimated my ability to socialise, didn’t I?
  • Only I could get lost on a campus that has one building.

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As it turned out, the “O” in O-week stood for:

  • Other students are just as excited and nervous about being here as I am.
  • “Of course I can help you find out which room you’re in.”
  • Oh wow, I’ve learned so much, and university hasn’t even started yet!

Try to think of O-week as a fun transition to university life after such a long break (possibly including a wild schoolies which required three months of recovery).

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Here is some advice I give to all of you who are attending O-Week for the first time:

1) Be yourself.

Cliché- I know, but it really does apply to this situation.
Throughout your life so far, you’ve probably never been given the chance to truly be yourself once you stepped out your front door. Although school taught us a lot about discovering who we are as individuals, we were all made to conform on some level- either by wearing a uniform, sitting in class until the bell rang, or shoving your entire vegemite sandwich in your mouth at once because you weren’t allowed to eat it in the biology labs.

Even in the playground, there was always at least a slight pressure put on us to be or act a certain way so that more people would like us, or let us cut into the tuck-shop line.

But this isn’t a case at university!

First of all, there are no uniforms at university. So if you want to wear a pink, sparkly unicorn t-shirt to university (despite the fact you’re old enough to vote) YOU CAN!

Secondly, there will be others at O-week wearing shirts as bright as yours. So not only can you one-hundred per cent be yourself, but your individuality will be praised, and people will love you for it.

2) Stay open-minded.

One of the best ways your brain can develop is by taking healthy risks. This includes stepping out of your comfort zone. At O-Week, you’ll be getting involved in some pretty different and challenging activities.

When I went to O-Week, I found myself standing in front of total strangers talking about the worst gift I have ever been given, holding random people’s hands and lying on the floor of the auditorium whilst looking at the ceiling and learning how to breathe properly.
Although these activities may seem embarrassing at the time, there is a reason for doing them. So when the lecturer asks you to do an interpretive dance of your dream career- just go with it!

3) Pay a little attention.

Look, I get it. It’s super exciting the first time you’re able to use your phone in class without getting in trouble, but I guarantee your un-opened Snapchats will still be there after the psychology lecturer has helped you figure out your best learning strategy. Try to remember, those lecturers are there to give you a heads up about your future university adventure. So at least write down the main points on your note pad. And even if you’re just doodling little cartoon drawings with your free pen NEXT to the important notes after you’re done writing them, nod your head occasionally to remind the lecturer that you are definitely listening.

4) Ask every question you can think of.

One of my biggest challenges at O-Week was finding the balance between being too shy to ask any questions (resulting in confusion) and sounding like an attendee of a Southern Baptist Church- lots of loud “mmm’s” whenever I agreed with the speaker. To save you this awkward struggle, I would recommend writing down any questions you have and be the first to raise your hand as soon as the lecturer says “Any questions?”

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask. Chances are the room will be full of other people wanting to know the same thing as you. So be the hero who puts their hand in the air like they just don’t care (about looking silly in front of people they just met).

5) Smile, have fun!

Look at O-week this way, it’s probably the last time you’ll ever experience USQ for the first time. So make sure you have a GOOD time!

According to the totally credible website Wikipedia, smiling is contagious. This means that your smile may make someone else smile, even if they’re just as nervous about being at o-week as you are.

Having fun is also really important at o-week. I’ll be honest with you right now, university is not easy; Yes- USQ is always there to help you and yes-there are always people who care about you. But in saying that, going to university is a massive step to take in your life. So the best way to being your university experience is to go in laughing, with a huge smile on your face.

So if you take heed to at least some of my tips, and try to embrace every moment of the week, (even if it takes whispering YOLO under your breath to do it).

Your life until now has been about finding yourself- but university is about BEING yourself and putting your awesome, unique skills in to action!

This journey begins today! So have fun and collect tonnes of free stuff!!


The Myths of Study


Note: This is not my bearded dragon or cat. However, in a utopian, perfect (in all ways incredibly unrealistic) world it could be… read this blog to understand what they have to do about my Myths of Study! I popped up at the USQ scene straight from school – so I thought I had a few sneaky study and assignment plans and tactics that were completely irrefutable.

Please note: starting studying the week before a major exam is NOT one of my irrefutable tactics… I’ve found that out the hard way… a number of times.

However, I’ve found that sometimes a particular exam or assignment seems like a nasty job – similar to taking out the rubbish when there is a small lake of rubbish juice lying tranquil on the bottom – and in this case, I’ve learnt that studying or starting that assignment first is the best plan of action. Yes, I said first. Not last, not second last and definitely not doing it just after procrastinating by cleaning your bearded dragon’s cage for the last few hours (yeah, I’m guilty of that. Don’t judge too harshly, okay?). By completing that bad boy first you will still have something to look forward to. For me, this has included a super fun assignment about how best to help children develop in a particular environment.

Along with studying the not-so-fun-or-enjoyable-or-cool-or-awesome exam first, there are a number of key ways to help yourself enjoy studying it. I found at school that there was a limited capacity for the amount of ways to study. It was kind of like going into 7/11 and only finding small cups available for your slurpee in the middle of summer. All you could basically do was look back over the textbook or your own notes from class. Maybe, possibly beg your teacher for an old exam to use as practice. However, at uni, there are a bazillion ways to study – look at your notes, look at the online lecture slides, look at the information you gained during your tutorial, look at your textbook, play some really weird and interesting online games that the textbook author has developed. It’s like… have you heard of BYO cup day at 7/11? People are literally allowed to bring their own cup (whatever shape, whatever size, and fill it with the liquid goodness of the 7/11 slurpee).

I kid you not, google it if you have to. There are photos of people with kiddie pools getting filled up. It’s crazy. It’s fantastic. Well, studying for uni is basically that. There is a kiddie pool sized amount of ways to study just waiting for you. Of course, everybody has to find their own particular study habit. I personally enjoy waking up and starting an assignment or studying straight away – before I even have breakfast. I don’t know why but it works for me.

Compare this to my little brother (who is in Year 11 in high school), he enjoys staying up late (I know, typical teenagers), listening to music and studying during this time. I personally hate any type of outside noise and can’t stand music to be on while I study – even though I like to think of myself as a massive music enthusiast. So I say this to you, my fantastic readers, I am probably only a slightly above average student (oh, you think I’m better than that?! Aw thanks!) – and I can still find the motivation need to study, so, so can you! Find a time and a place, find a particular way to study and go for it! Sometimes, studying is just not possible. Perhaps… its BYO cup day at 7/11 and you have a kiddie pool just waiting to be filled up… or… or… your bearded dragon has just run under the couch and is hiding there and you’re kind of scared that she will come face to face with your cat (and they are not friends).

Sometimes you need a day to relax and watch hilarious re-runs of your favourite TV show. And I say to you: that’s okay too, as we all need a break once and a while, and trust me, you deserve it. Just don’t do it too much and end up a week out from a major exam having done zero study. I would finally like to say to you all: good luck for the following semester! Get those good habits in and kick those bad habits out!

Add your own flavour ‘study parent’!

So you’re a parent and a university student or what I prefer to call a ‘studying parent’, among other roles I am sure. Then I bet you will be/ have been looking to strike a good study-life balance. Balance… you might be saying to yourself ‘pfft, what’s that’ but I am a firm believer that we can have it all! With the right priorities, a little task management and by drawing on our inherent ability to cope with the differing demands of our lives we can find this balance and adapt into the happy and successful studying parents that we crave to be.

Over the course of my degree, I have used many and varied tactics to study whilst parenting. To share more of my story though, I will have to give you the run down about my three and half year old son. He has light, golden-brown, scuffled hair, deep brown almond shaped eyes, is knee high to a grasshopper, the love of my life and FULL of energy. As my son has gotten a little older, we mostly like to ‘study’ together. At first he would read his own books and colour beside me. These days he prefers to copy, pretending to read mummy’s special text books and write with a black biro.

Sometimes before I sit down to write an assignment, I open Microsoft Word, change the page colour and let him type with some funky font and in his favourite colour of the day. After having the taste for feeling important and involved in my university work (or mummy’s Uni as he calls it), he happily resumes playing with his toys for a while. Other fun things that we have done together include making revision cards and sitting side by side wearing our headphones listening to online lectures and the dinosaur train ABC song.

I think the most important thing to take away from this is to add your own flavour to your ‘dual role’ techniques. You might do as I and my son have, or you may prefer do to something a bit different, more suited to your individual personality and unique family dynamic. Once you are settled into your new routine you will be well and truly on your way to achieving the ever elusive balance that may have seemed unrealistic in the beginning.

Til next time.

- a phoenix just like you, Krisi

Suit-Up for Summer!

Hello all and welcome to 2014!

While many students have been enjoying their summer on the beach, catching up with friends and   adventuring, I made the decision (unpopular to most) to complete a summer placement. During November and December, I completed a four-week summer program where I was able to experience criminal law in a practical setting. Over this time I was able to experience the day-to-day life in a busy law office, working alongside lawyers and their paralegals. I was able to complete a wide range of work, including legal research, communicating with other law firms, as well as drafting letters and documents.

As this was my first work experience in an office environment, even the minor aspects of the placement amazed me; I’d work full-time hours, dress the part (suit up!) and even have my own desk to work from.

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Although at times feeling like I was thrown in the deep end with some of the work, all of the staff were happy to answer questions and share their experiences with me. Learning first hand through practically completing work was extremely beneficial and allowed me to make several connections with concepts I’d learned through my law study.

Working alongside law practitioners also opened up opportunities to sit in court and observe a number of criminal law matters. Through spending time in court observing, I quickly became familiar with processes of a trial and the functions required by each of the court personnel.

The summer placement also had plenty of other highlights, including the opportunity to attend professional development seminars and was even able to tag along to the work Christmas party. The professional development sessions were beneficial in explaining the practicalities of criminal law, and in enhancing legal research skills. It was great to be able to take my learning beyond the lecture rooms into a practical setting, and I’m sure to use the skills I learned to my benefit in my final year of university.

At the end of the four weeks I had made a number of professional friends and I had the satisfactions of knowing the work I had completed was of great assistance. To step out of my comfort zone in completing tasks was a huge learning experience, which has allowed me to develop both personally and professionally. Needless to say, it was an eye-opening experience and one which has helped me to think more clearly about career aspirations.

I am so grateful for the experience I had over summer and I look forward to taking up any opportunities the New Year has in store!

Enjoy the rest of summer!