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4 February 2020

The struggles and highlights of university – Lauren’s story

Meet Lauren Pacella, a current Deakin student studying a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Science. Excited for all the new students who will be starting their own university journey, Lauren shares her personal highlights, struggles and the lessons she’s learned so far.

Lauren and class

Lauren (centre in orange) with fellow Deakin Food and Nutrition Science students.

Tell us about your course. What type of things did you learn or do in your favourite class?

My course covers everything food! I’ve studied food properties, nutrition for each stage of the lifespan, the physiology of digestion, sustainability of the food system, food policy, sports nutrition, the chemical makeup of food, sensory science and I even got to cook in the kitchen!

My favourite subject looked at consumer behaviour around food: what influences our decision on what we choose and how much we eat, especially as a child. It’s super fascinating the little things that can have a subconscious effect on consumption – music, lighting, plate size.

What motivated you to study this course?

I’ve always enjoyed my food which stemmed into an interest in health; particularly nutrition, during high school. Hence, finding out you could study nutrition sealed the deal and I was fortunate enough to be one of those students who did know what they wanted to do post-school.

Since starting uni, what are some of your highlights and your struggles?

Lauren Pacella

Lauren Pacella, current Deakin student.

The highlight has definitely been meeting so many new people and getting involved in different experiences. I’ve tried Ultimate Frisbee, was on the committee of the Food and Nutrition Society, went overseas to the Netherlands for a Study Tour, have shared numerous potlucks in the Community Garden, toured different work environments with the VCPEP program, worked as a student ambassador and have made great friendships with people across different courses.

In the past I’ve struggled to find time for everything, especially when I was on placement and still had three other units plus part-time work all happening at the same time. You definitely need to prioritise what’s important and allow time for relaxation.

What are your top three tips for studying?

  1. Start assignments early! They’re often all due around the same time so smashing most or part of it out in advance can ease the stress.
  2. Don’t fall behind. Make sure you cover all the required content each week so you can participate in class and can ask questions if you need. You don’t want to reach exam time and be wasting your time catching up on lectures.
  3. Don’t study all the time. Take breaks, maintain social commitments and part-time work if you can. I find that by doing this, in the time you do have, you focus so much more and it ends up being a much more efficient study session.

What advice would you give to someone about to start uni?

Get involved in all the extra-curricular activities, try new things and join as many clubs as possible – these are what end up being the highlights of uni!

What’s the most interesting thing you have learnt?

How to read and understand food labels (shopping takes a bit longer now!) Also, the principles of sports nutrition can be applied to anyone (not just elite athletes). 

Inspired to discover the ways that you can enhance your university experience? Deakin provides a range of services to help you connect and learn from other students. There are also options for our Cloud students!

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