How student and mentor Evie Vlahandreas has thrived out of her comfort zone
It’s always interesting to hear how a student’s perspective on university shifts over time. For Evie, a current Deakin student, exploring the Deakin Mentor Program gave her a whole new experience of uni life. She shares with us what she’s learnt so far.
What are you studying?
Double Degree in Bachelor of Laws/Arts.
What have been some highlights of your study/internships/uni experience and why? What have you gained?
In 2019, I joined the Faculty of Business and Law Mentor Program as a volunteer mentor. As part of this program, I was allocated a group of new students from a diverse range of backgrounds. For the first few weeks of uni, I would meet with my group once or twice a week and show new students the ropes of Deakin life.
To top it off, in Trimester 3 of 2019, I was appointed as the new team leader for the undergraduate students in our mentor program! This has undoubtedly been the highlight of my time at Deakin. Not only is my team a group of motivated and empathetic people, but I now get the incredible opportunity to manage mentors and their groups of new students.
I get to organise events for the program and have had the incredible opportunity of getting to know so many inspiring students and staff in my faculty. We organise road trips, social events and online initiatives, and it’s beyond rewarding to see firsthand the difference our program makes to new students and our mentors.
The skills I’ve gained from the Mentor Program are priceless. I’ve learned how to be an effective team member and leader, and how to empathise with a range of different people. I’ve made so many friends in this program who are all like-minded individuals with a genuine desire to help people, which is so encouraging to be around!
If you could time travel back to when you first started uni, what would you tell yourself?
To seek discomfort. In my first couple of years at uni my priority was finding my ‘place’ at Deakin. I managed to do this but I felt like I wanted to be more involved with the university’s extra-curricular opportunities. It was in my third year when I started applying for various roles and internships and ultimately joined the Mentor Program. At first I was very nervous as it was something I’d never done before, but looking back it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I think ‘first-year me’ would be really glad and excited to see me now, doing things outside my comfort zone and taking part in the best experiences of university life.
Do you have a study routine? If so, what does it look like?
Managing a job at Deakin while also studying has been challenging. I have had to focus on managing my time more than I did prior to juggling both. My study routine varies throughout the trimester; however, I typically have a few things I always do:
- I tend to work better either early in the mornings or later in the afternoon – the middle of the day isn’t a very productive time for me.
- I love studying with loud music playing through my headphones.
- As any other law student would tell you, caffeine is a must, especially around SWOTVAC.
- If I study later in the day, I’ll usually spend the morning exercising and having some time away from the books to clear my mind.
- Regardless of when I’m studying, I always make sure I have some sugary snacks with me to get me over the line.
Favourite thing to do in your free time?
I love to paint. I use the acrylic pouring method and have also recently started making my own earrings using my designs.
Tell us something interesting about yourself
Not many people know this, but Elle Woods was my motivation for picking up a law degree.
Are you interested in helping other students make the most of their Deakin experience? Or do you think you’d benefit from our range of programs, which include how to improve your academic skills, settle in to university life and connect with other students? Find out more about Students Helping Students and why it’s so effective.