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Student Jean Millward

22 May 2020

‘I am a natural hermit’: Arts student and green thumb Jean explains how Deakin communities encouraged her to come out of her shell

Studying at university is undoubtedly an exciting time. You’ll learn more about yourself, the industry in which you want to work and the world we live in. That said, while you stand to gain a lot from your time at Deakin, university can sometimes feel a little daunting as you navigate your own study challenges and come across lots of new people. 

Regardless of personality type, having strong social relationships is consistently shown to directly benefit a person’s health and wellbeing, and there are many ways you can foster quality connections with others in the Faculty of Arts and Education (even while we’re studying online!) and throughout Deakin.

Student Jean Millward, who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce (Anthropology and Economics majors) at Burwood, tells us about the clubs, group activities and University services that have enriched her personal development and time spent at Deakin.

What do you enjoy most about university?
The opportunity and access it gives. A very broad answer, but it is hard to be too specific when I have loved so much about my time at Deakin.

What is the most difficult part of adjusting to studying online?
I have always done most of my studies online because I find it easier to watch recorded lectures that I can pause and rewind. I am missing the community aspect of being on campus however. This year I signed up as an executive for the Deakin Sustainable Food Movement club and started as a team leader for the Arts&Ed Peer Mentor Program so it was a challenge to figure out how to move those things online while keeping the personal connection aspect.

Any services or resources have you used on campus and how did they help?
I have been really excited about the Smarthinking online tutoring – it has saved me this trimester with a calculus-heavy unit. The tutors are incredibly helpful!

Last year I got fantastic support for my mental health through the Deakin counsellors. I didn’t realise we all get six free sessions!

If you could change one thing about your uni experience what would it be?
I am a natural hermit so I like to convince myself that I don’t need to leave the metaphorical cave, but in truth I have found so much value in connecting with communities at Deakin and wish that I had put myself out there more from the beginning. Go to club events, make friends in class, get involved with Peer Mentoring from the start. Just get out there and get involved!

A few more recommendations

Favourite elective?
Any Middle East Studies units – the online political simulation where you play the role of a nation’s leadership for two weeks is one of the greatest assignments you will ever have.

Best isolation read?
Deakin anthropology lecturer Gillian Tan’s book In The Circle of White Stones is a great view into the lives of Tibetan Nomads and beautifully weaves peoples stories in with the broader picture of the region.

Favourite spot on campus?
The Community Garden at Burwood (behind Building R&S). Grab some produce and catch up on assignments among the flowers.

Connect with your faculty peers

The Faculty of Arts and Education supports a number of student societies with a focus on academic and career-based opportunities, so make sure you take a look at the clubs on offer.

And remember you can stay connected with your faculty via the Arts and Education TwitterFacebook and Instagram channels for the latest news and events.

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