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11 December 2020

Saying ‘yes’ to opportunities: How Vaibhav got involved at Deakin

There are many opportunities to get involved at Deakin – to boost your learning, make friends and get out of your comfort zone. Recent Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Vaibhav has an impressive catalogue of volunteer and study experiences. We spoke to him about his time as a Deakin student and what advice he has for other students.

How did Deakin happen?

I was studying a Bachelor of Computer science in India. In my second year, I heard about an articulation program to Deakin. I had no doubt that I should take the opportunity and I started the process of getting my credits transferred. I landed in Australia in June 2018.

Orientation and first-day experience

On the first day of Orientation, I got to explore the beautiful Burwood Campus with the help of the friendly Orientation Ambassadors who offered campus tours and guidance. It was a smooth process and all my nervousness vanished with their help and support.

I’m sure all new students, especially international students, feel the same way on their first day. Trust me, the amount of support on offer will never let you feel alone. It’s a festival-like environment, with all clubs and societies showcasing their offerings. This is the best opportunity to get involved and make friends.

On the first day of lectures, a funny incident happened – my class was at 9am, and I was motivated and pumped up to see the lecture theatre and my peers. However, Burwood is a very spread-out campus, and finding your lecture theatres can be a task!

Even though Deakin provides navigation apps and a map, it was difficult to locate the right building, but I thought I’d finally found it and sat down. I looked around and was a bit confused as I could see students who were comparatively older than me. As soon as the lecture started, I began taking notes. Within minutes, I realised this was an MBA lecture and I had entered the wrong theatre! I felt a bit silly but it was a very funny and memorable start to my study experience (I attended the complete two-hour MBA lecture though!).

Deakin Abroad study tour

My first year went pretty smoothly and I got good grades in my units. One thing I would like to mention is the opportunity to select a minimum number of elective units apart from your core units. This gives you flexibility to tailor your own course. I took my most of my electives from the Management department, as I want to become a Cyber/Technical analyst.

There’s also the Study Abroad program. In T2, 2019, I opted for the Game Development Study Abroad program to Inner Mongolia Normal University, China. In this two-week intensive unit, not only did I get to travel to China, but I also learnt new skills by collaborating with local students. We had lots of fun, explored the grasslands of Inner Mongolia and tried traditional Chinese activities like Tai-Chi, calligraphy and archery, as well as traditional Mongolian cuisine. I also boosted my confidence in public speaking by presenting our final product to the panel. 

Clubs and workshops, Freelancing Hub internship and Orientation Ambassador program

I’ve been involved in many other programs, clubs and workshops – including being a Gold member of DUSA, a member of the Deakin Indian Club, attending Graduate Job Fairs, resume-building workshops, and many other Deakin Talent workshops like the Design Thinking workshop. A special highlight was participating in a Hackathon hosted by Deakin in collaboration with two other universities from China (and winning second prize!)

I completed my internship through the Deakin Talent Freelancing Hub, in which I worked on a real-world scenario for Scouts Victoria. These opportunities not only help you to get involved with the university, but also to make new friends and increase your network (very necessary for any international student who is far away from their family).

I became an Orientation Ambassador and worked as a volunteer to guide the new students and set up the activities during OWeek. When new students and even staff members thanked me for helping them it made me feel recognised and connected to the community.

I also hosted a webinar for upcoming students from the Asia–Pacific studying Information Technology. I shared my learning experience and involvement to not only promote Deakin’s culture and values, but also to help them feel supported when they arrive here.

Rewards and recognition

I have received a Global Citizenship Award from Deakin, which involved meeting a set of requirements to the value of 100 ‘points’. All these volunteering and study experiences secured me 140 points during my studies!

My advice for every student is to have short-term goals. This will build confidence in achieving your main end target. My journey was full of ups and downs, but I conquered every situation. I recommend you enjoy these learning years with full involvement and dedication (this is what a university journey is all about!).

Some ‘mistakes’ can even end up serving you well – as I mentioned earlier, on my very first day I sat in the wrong lecture theatre. Later in my studies, I used this experience in one of my Capstone units to develop a solution for a navigation app for Deakin (which is still in progress).

I encourage other students to take advantage of these opportunities and make your time at Deakin memorable.

Are you new to Deakin and would like some friendly support for your transition into university? Or perhaps you’re an established student and would like to develop professional skills while helping new students settle in? Check out the peer mentor programs for your specific faculty and get in touch!

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