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19 October 2021

‘Embrace the unexpected’: have your questions about online study answered by a Success Coach like Mikala!

As a new student in Deakin’s Cloud Campus, you’ll be assigned a Success Coach when you begin this study period.

Your Success Coach is your very own mentor who will help you to get the most out of your time at Deakin. They are a student from your faculty who will introduce you to studying in the Cloud Campus.

Join our upcoming orientation session to meet and talk with some of our Success Coaches. You’ll be able to ask them any questions you may have and hear about their experiences with online study, including their tips on topics such as staying motivated, work/study/life balance, connecting with peers, and time management. 

Cloud Campus Essentials: ‘Meet a Success Coach’ Orientation Session
Thursday 28 October, 7–8pm

You can also register via your Orientation Itinerary, which includes more details about this session. After you register, further details on how to join this online session will be provided via email. 

Q&A with Success Coach Mikala

We asked Cloud Campus student and Success Coach Mikala Todd to tell us a little bit about herself, what led to her becoming a Success Coach and her tips for how new students can overcome common challenges associated with online study. Mikala is currently studying a Master of Communication, specialising in Digital Media.

Success Coach Mikala ToddWhat are you hoping to do after university?
I have my sights set on a career in academia. I would love to pursue teaching and research in marketing and communication at a tertiary level. So, ideally, I will never leave university! I love learning and hope that I can inspire others.

What led to you becoming a Success Coach?
First and foremost, I am passionate about the student experience. I want students to succeed not just academically but in all aspects of their lives. I believe that academic success influences wellbeing and vice versa. If a student finishes the program feeling empowered and has a toolkit to help them approach their study holistically, then I have done my job.

Further to that, working as a Success Coach is my opportunity to give back to the Deakin community that has supported me throughout my journey.

What are common challenges that new students tend to face when studying online, and do you have any tips on overcoming these?
Students face a range of challenges when they commence online study. It really depends on the prior experience. Some students are fresh out of high school; others are mature-age and have never studied at a tertiary level.

Students face emotional challenges such as dealing with nerves, technological challenges such as learning to navigate DeakinSync, and the unit sites and work/life/study balance issues (for example, concern over how they will manage study with all the other responsibilities of life). It is common for students to feel overwhelmed. Particularly as they are receiving a lot of information with language that is often foreign to them (‘Deak Speak’), they need to decode.

Remember the fact that if you have been accepted to study at Deakin, it means you have a recognised ability to rise to the challenge of university.

For the most part, it is helpful to remember the following.

How can a new student connect with other students and make friends while studying online?
Firstly, Deakin Buddies is a great way to make friends. Also, I always suggest that students use the discussion forums to introduce themselves and interact with others who may enrol in the same units in the future. In my experience, those who interact with the discussion forums want to meet their peers and are keen to achieve the best they can in their studies. Further, some units employ social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook, which offer excellent opportunities to connect with peers.

What has worked for you in the past when it comes to finding a good work/study/life balance?
I had to remember what works for others may not work for me. Some people are night owls, some people thrive in chaos and under pressure … and I am not either of these things. I find having a schedule and gamifying my studies to be really helpful. I schedule in time to exercise, time to study, and when I need to work. Recently, I attended a Deakin ‘Build your Mentor Mindfulness Toolkit’ session in which I learned about scheduling ‘worry time’. By scheduling ‘worry time,’ I can detach from unhelpful emotions that may impact my productivity. For me, being organised creates a sense of calm and control.

Anything you’d like to share with new students regarding what to expect from uni in general?
I would like new students to remember the fact that if you have been accepted to study at Deakin, it means you have a recognised ability to rise to the challenge of university. Also, if the last two years have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected and embrace this. There are things we can and cannot control. What is certain is that the Deakin community is behind you and willing to support you in any way they can. I think that is one of my favourite things about Deakin. The student-centredness approach Deakin has such a huge difference.

I would also say make the most of every opportunity! Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back (remember my ‘learning by doing’ philosophy).

What have you enjoyed most about uni study? 
Overall, I have really enjoyed my experience with Deakin. Most of all, the connections I have (and continue) to make. I’ve also enjoyed how studying with Deakin has helped me realise and challenge my potential and achieve things that I felt were beyond my ability at the time.

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
In 2022 I am looking forward to returning to work on campus in the other roles I have with Deakin. I’m looking forward to learning new things, meeting new people, and getting that little bit closer to completing my Masters.

Register for your Success Coach orientation session today!

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