how to ask for help at uni

This piece was originally published on the UOW Digital Media Society website.

Asking for help in any situation can be intimidating. It can be difficult to face the vulnerability of admitting that you can’t do something alone. But, the great thing about university is that nobody expects you to have all the answers.

When I was in high school I was sold a lie by many of my teachers. I believed them when they said that my future university lecturers and tutors would not give a damn about me nor my personal struggles. That to them, I was just a number, just another face in a crowd, just another paper to mark.

After three years studying a Bachelor of Communications and Media at UOW, I can safely say that none of this is true. University is supposed to be a place of learning and growth and the academics here understand that journey. They are our advocates and we can trust in them to do right by us if we put the effort in.

Despite this, showing up at an academic’s door to ask a question can still be a challenge. So here are some tips to nudge you in the right direction:

Send an email

Sending an email can be a lot less scary than asking a question face to face. When you write an email, you get acute control over every little detail from the wording to how you frame your situation. If you’re anxious about not communicating exactly what you’re issue is then this is a great option. Alternatively, using an email as a prelude to a face to face meeting can help lay the groundwork for an easier conversation.

Ask after class

If your main concern is intruding on your lecturer or tutor’s time, then asking a question after class can be a good way to get around that. Most academics invite questions during or after their classes which makes this even easier.

Make sure you’ve covered all bases

Sometimes you might worry about looking naive for asking for help from a lecturer or tutor. Often this comes from a place of self-doubt about our own abilities as a student and budding professional. A good way to combat these feelings is to make sure you’ve searched for the answers elsewhere first. This includes looking in the subject outline, double checking Moodle, and looking through your lecture notes for any helpful hints that might have been dropped by your lecturer. This is also a good way of seeking help without actually having to talk to anyone, so if you’re a hardcore introvert then take note.

Try asking at the Library

A lot of the library staff are students like us. They have a lot of knowledge about the best ways to research, reference and do all manner of academic things. If you feel more comfortable talking to someone who is also a student then the library could be your best option.

The door is always open (during consultation hours)

The consultation times you can find in your subject outlines are there because your tutors and lecturers genuinely wan’t to see you. They wan’t you to ask for help if you feel stuck and they wan’t you to have the best chance possible to thrive. I can guarantee that you will be welcome should you choose this course of action

So if you need help with your studies then take a deep breath and consider which path to take. The only bad option is not asking for help at all. In the words of Albus Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’, “Help will always be given at Hogwarts UOW, to those who ask for it.”

what I wish I could tell first-year me

When I was a first year BCM student, I thought I knew who I was and what I wanted from life. Looking back at that girl who used to be me, I realise that she was adorably naive. If I could tell her a few things, some gentle words and hard truths, then maybe she would have more effectively used her time at university.

Alas, I can’t do that. But, what I can do is share my advice with the newest crop of BCM students who may be just as in need of help as I was.

Don’t get intimidated 

If you don’t know how to do something then thats okay, you’re here to learn. Nobody expects you to know everything about graphic design or film editing from day one. If you’ve never done it before then TAKE THAT SUBJECT. I can’t blame you for thinking that everyone else will be better than you because they might have done it before, but that’s their journey. You’re here for YOU. First year subjects are designed so that even the most novice of beginners can learn from the ground up. Over time you will get better – so much better than you would have been if you just let the opportunity to learn pass you by.

Try something different

Variety is the spice of life. A diverse skillset on a resume will add some spice to your job prospects. So use those electives to try something new. It might be outside of your comfort zone, it might be something that you would never have thought to try… but you might absolutely LOVE whatever it is. Even if you don’t then you will have gained a new skill that will give your resume an edge.

Get help with your resume (the one you wrote is way worse than you think)

There is so much conflicting information out there about how best to write a resume. It is very important that your resume makes a great first impression because thats your ticket to a job interview. As soon as I got help with my resume my luck with getting internships changed. It was like a switch had been flipped and I was suddenly a desirable candidate. There are so many people you can ask for help with your resume – a careers adviser, industry professional, an older student or graduate – so please, please, PLEASE ask one of them as soon as you can.

Get involved with everything and anything ASAP

Opportunity is everywhere at university for a reason. It is important to understand that university is not all about study and good grades, everything that happens in-between also matters. Your best chance at getting a graduate job is to have experience doing something. Getting involved with volunteering, clubs, UOWx, and special events shows recruiters that you have initiative and a great work ethic. These experiences can also often be tailored to your professional interests and are a good starting point for networking. On top of all of that, they are so much fun and you can make some great friends. 

Attitude matters

The truth is: the more effort you put into your studies, the more benefits you will reap. There’s no shortcut to get around it – hard work pays. The first step to get the most out of each of your subjects is to have the right attitude. Each time you enter a classroom you have to be primed and ready to absorb new information and level yourself up. Even if you think that the subject is not relevant to your future. Besides, being enthusiastic makes even the most challenging or boring of classes a little bit more bearable.

Be an advocate for yourself

There is a lot of stigma around the field of communications and media. Many see us as inferior or insignificant, and this has been reflected by the Australian government in the recent price hikes of BCM degrees nation-wide. But they don’t understand. They don’t know how important our contributions are to Australian culture, arts, commerce, news and so much more. They also don’t know that there is a crap-tonne of money to be made in our field. So don’t EVER let an engineer or a lawyer or anyone else walk all over you because their degree was “harder”.

Things don’t always go to plan

Finally, you need to know that things won’t always happen according to your well-laid plans. Life is irregular and so too will your journey be. So stop bloody stressing and enjoy this beautiful, hectic time while it lasts!

interning in Spain for a month: what no-one will tell you

Most people will only share the good parts of their time abroad, but not me. Whilst living in Spain was wonderful, interning in Spain was a new kind of painful.

As a communications student, I was lucky enough to land myself a “digital marketing” internship with a film production start up. I had such high hopes for this opportunity. I imagined myself waking up each day, enthused to be learning something new and practical about my future profession from someone with years of expertise.

It was supposed to be my ‘big break’ as some might say.

Here’s where it all wen’t wrong. 

The setting

I’m not usually one to complain about these kinds of things. After all, good work can be done in almost any environment. But when I tell you that the “co-working office” I had to work in was depressing, I do quite literally mean that it made me depressed. See, this office was actually an empty factory, devoid of natural light… actually lacking in any sort of light, really… but the worst part was the temperature. The inside of this place was as cold as the wintery streets outside. There were times when my fingers froze over so bad that I could barely type on my keyboard. All this, however, would have been forgivable if I had a decent mentor.

The lack of guidance

I like to consider myself to be a self-starter, someone who takes initiative and seeks learning opportunities on my own. But, for my first ever taste of the communications industry, having a mentor who knew at least something about digital marketing, social media or content development would have been really useful. Instead, I was thrust into the deep end and expected to know how to swim from day one. Whilst I did learn about competitor analysis, internal analysis, writing web-copy and taking advantage of Instagram, I feel like my learning would have been more effective if I had someone to point me in the right direction. In fact, this experience had me feeling so lost that I started to question whether this career path was right for me.

The living situation

Points one and two would have been somewhat bearable on their own, had I not been naive enough to think that my insomniac-self could sleep in a twin share room for an entire month. Whilst I loved my roommate, Jenna, her snores sounded like the long blasts of a foghorn (so, at least nine decibels louder than the level at which a person starts to feel pain). Sorry, Jenna. Being the sensitive sleeper that I am, this meant that I didn’t fall asleep until around 4-5am each night. Sadly, I was then woken up around three hours later by my roommates who loudly got ready directly outside of my bedroom door.

The cumulation of each of these elements weighed more and more on my shoulders each day. But, each time I came close to crumbling from their pressure I reminded myself why I was there – not to be perfect, but to learn, to grow, and to experience.

My advice to anyone who finds themselves in this situation? Be selective in the opportunities you accept, prioritise your wellbeing, pack warm clothes, and look on the bright side whenever possible.

A final note

Undertaking an internship abroad doesn’t have to be a bad experience. I definitely have some very fond memories of my time away (read about them here). With the right planning, considerations, and advice from someone who’s been there and done that, your experience in your international workplace could be spectacular.

living in Spain for a month: what’s so good about it?

In January of 2020, before the whole world fell to pieces, I interned in Barcelona, Spain for a month. Living in Europe was every bit as magical as I imagined it would be, working in Europe… not so much (but i’ll save that story for another time!).

It might sound like a pipe dream right now, but if you ever find yourself living in Barcelona don’t miss these three experiences.

The food – don’t just stick to the American-style fast food joints

When in Barcelona, one can’t travel more than a few metres without being hit by heady wafts of fresh-cooked Catalan (Northeastern Spanish) cuisine. On every corner is a tapas bar serving up small plates of crispy potatas bravas, deeply blushing fuet or crusty pan con tamate. What surprised me most, however, was the spectacular Italian fare one can find dotted around the city. As an Italian myself I might be a little biased. But, a stand out memory from my time away were the flaky, orange cream-filled sfogliatella and the rich gelato I would frequently treat myself to.  One shocking thing to note though, Spaniards don’t always serve their pizza pre-sliced. So if you ever find yourself ordering a pizza in Spain, expect to put in a bit of elbow grease with a knife and fork.

The sights – treat each spare moment like a vacation

Barcelona has a rich culture embedded within it’s most popular attractions. I loved exploring the unique structures of the city’s most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. I have never seen any building as imaginative as la Sagrada Familia. A photograph could not capture the wonder of its four peculiarly stylised façades nor the majesty of its brightly rainbowed stained glass windows.

My favourite place to visit whenever I could was the Old Town, the early Barcelona before it expanded into the vast city that it is today. Each narrow alley is brimming with history from the time of long-lost kings and queens. Some of the remaining buildings tell quiet stories of the Black Plague, of the Jewish history in the area, and of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. These details intermingle with the artisanal shops, luxury restaurants and commercial clothing stores that occupy the space now.

The travel – take advantage of every opportunity to leave the city

Known as the ‘gateway to Europe’, Barcelona is in the perfect position to get pretty much anywhere in mainland Europe, the United Kingdom and Northern Africa. I’m warning you now though, plane tickets are not as cheap as everyone makes them out to be.

For my second weekend abroad, I travelled last-minute to London, England. It was a strange experience to all of a sudden be thrust back into an English-speaking country that was similar to (but not quite the same as) my hometown of Sydney, which was 17 000 kilometres away. Whilst I could only eat ramen and McDonalds for dinner – lest I spend $50 on a single pizza for one (exchange rates, man) – most everything else I could do was free. From exploring many of the world’s greatest (but also sadly stolen) treasures at the British Museum, to marvelling at the artistry of Van Gogh and Monet at The National Gallery. In addition to hitting up the classic attractions of Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Centre and Westminster Abbey, I also scored a ticket to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford. These days, I do not support author J.K. Rowling but I would be lying to say that this was not an absolutely amazing experience. I spent hours here, slowly absorbing all of the details about this story that I treasured as a child. 

Some other places that I travelled to in my time away include:

  • Girona, Spain – a medieval city that featured a number of times in Game of Thrones because of its beautiful architecture.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark – a city that mixes its visible history with ultra-modern technology and design. My favourite part of the weekend I spent here was visiting the statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid and watching the changing of the palace guard at Amelienborg palace.
  • Northern Morocco – I spent two weeks here at the start of February, after my month in Spain ended. I toured from Casablanca to Marrakech. My favourite stops were: the coastal town of Essaouira where I had an authentic Moroccan bathhouse experience; and the locale of Mergouza at the edge of the Sahara Dessert where I danced under a sea of stars and snowboarded down a sand dune.

Feeling stir crazy yet? Whilst it’s unfortunate that visiting Barcelona is off the cards for now, I highly recommend it be added to anyone’s bucket list of travels for the future.

thank you, and goodnight

Every student will tell you that the worst part of university is the group work. But, in my time as a communications and media student, I have found that I dislike reflective tasks in near equal measure. They have always seemed so empty and pointless. A checkbox item, tacked onto the end of an assignment, existing purely for lecturers to tick off and say “yes, I’ve critically engaged the student” or “yes, I’ve made sure the student is accountable for their work.”

Studying BCM313 has enlightened me as to more productive and interesting ways to use personal reflection. Instead of merely learning about the future of work, this subject has taught me how to probe deep within myself—my memories, my values, and my hopes. It has encouraged me to take interest in the stories and experiences of others, so that I may draw out lessons that are applicable to my own life.

These reflective practices, facilitated by narrative work, are no shallow feat.

From this subject I have learnt how to take ownership of my career identity. To understand what I want to do with my professional life and how to actively pursue it in a way that fosters my values and considers my preferences.

The most memorable part of a narrative interview I conducted with social media specialist Jasmyn Connell, was a lesson she uncovered through the progression of her own career. Since then, I have reminded myself a number of times that I am not my work. My value isn’t derived from the quality of my work. And, I am not a lesser person in that face of my professional shortfalls.

I was also surprised to discover that the future of work is not as bleak as I had first thought. I often find it challenging to avoid getting caught up in the doom and gloom of the political, social and environmental failings of the Australian government. I have always thought that these shortcomings would spell disaster for my future-self. But, an examination of Industry 4.0 has shown me that the possibility for a good, prosperous future does exist.

Finally, I have learnt that nobody has a perfect career story. I’ve always been afraid of failure, which has often held me back. After hearing so many different career stories from individuals of all walks of life, I feel renewed with the confidence to put myself “out there” more. A lesson from my first year classes that I am reminded of in this moment is that learning requires one to be bold enough to “fail early and fail often.”

I’d like to conclude by thanking my tutor, Giverny Witheridge, for always engaging my peers and I with thought-provoking and often challenging questions. It was a pleasure to be a part of Giverny’s class as she created a positive, welcoming and encouraging environment.

I’d also like to extend my thanks to the effervescent and ever-understanding Kate Bowles, subject coordinator and lecturer for BCM313. It was truly a joy to participate in this subject.

With only two classes remaining in my degree, here’s to what I expect will be my final blog post.

how I learnt about myself from someone else

Some of the names have been redacted for privacy reasons at the discretion of the interviewee. Please do not mark this version of the video. You can find the video transcript on the next page.

As a third-year student, I am plagued by anxieties about internships, entry-level jobs and post-graduate study. As a result, I am constantly dogged by intrusive thoughts. They tumble through my head, muttering questions I fear, yet have no answers to… Do I have enough experience? Do I have what it takes to survive in the corporate world? Will I hate my job for the rest of my life?

These doubts ate away at me as I prepared to conduct a narrative interview with Jasmyn Connell.

For this narrative interview, I was to be an outsider witness, as defined by Carey and Russell (2003), to Jasmyn’s career story. An outsider witness is an additional party who listens for and gives agency to the preferred values and identity claims of an individual (Carey & Russell 2003). These value and identity claims frequently reside in the subjugated meanings or, as Michael White (2006) terms it, the absent, but implicit messages in the problem stories of an individual.

I knew that to simply hear Jasmyn speak would be too passive and too inadequate to fulfil the demands of a narrative interview. Instead, I readied myself to engage with the visible and invisible layers of her story, and adapt the conversation around the subjugated meanings we surfaced together. 

However, what eventuated was something that ran much deeper for me. I did not expect her narrative to resonate so powerfully with my concerns.

The interview

Jasmyn Connell is the president of the UOW Digital Media Society. She juggles this role with a massive lineup of responsibilities: a part-time social media management job, running her own graphic design business, and study at university.

As expected, through the interview we explored her tumultuous career journey. She showed me along the twisting path that she travelled to get to her current point, signposting each challenge of skill and personal mettle. 

I found the most memorable stories of work Jasmyn shared, to be the ones where she demonstrated vulnerability and perseverance in the same stride. I was taken aback when she told me that, upon receiving harsh feedback on an impossible task, she burst into tears in the middle of the office. I was surprised because this was something that I too would have done, and hearing this helped me to feel seen.

As someone who often finds shame in my sensitivity, I was pleasantly shocked by how this moment in Jasmyn’s story ended. One of the editors who made the comments came to her and helped her understand what she describes to me as “one of the most important lessons” that she learnt on the job…

“You are not your work.”

Until this point in Jasmyn’s career, she had been hinging her value as a person on the quality of her work. She thought of criticism on her work as comments on her self-worth. Upon hearing this realisation, I recognised that I think of my work and personal value as intrinsically linked in the same way that Jasmyn once did. 

With one small story, my eyes were suddenly wide open to one of the driving forces behind my anxieties.

In the remainder of the interview, we delved deeply into the values that underpinned various events in Jasmyn’s career. She showed me how she learnt that having the confidence to sometimes say no is more important than saying yes to everything. She revealed to me the times when she threw her caution and perfectionism to the wind and just worked unapologetically with what she had.

‘As an outsider witness to Jasmyn’s story, I noted how she developed this quiet assertion and advocacy for herself in challenging and unfamiliar situations. I also noticed how, over time, she began to develop her tenacity by having trust in herself and by pushing through the obstacles she faced. When I asked her about a value that might underlie this truth she identified the idea of “resilience.”’

— an excerpt from my presentation

I wish I had her resilience

As I reflect on Jasmyn’s interview, I realise that she transformed from someone very similar to myself to someone whom I have always wished I could be, but thought was impossible to achieve. That someone is confident enough to back themselves and isn’t weighed down by criticism.

By exploring the nuances of Jasmyn’s career story as an outsider witness, I have become equipped with the reflective tools to re-author my own narrative. No longer will I validate the thoughts of inadequacy and panic that cling to me. I will try to meet challenges with courage, and embrace each low moment as an exciting opportunity to learn.


Carey, M and Russell, S 2003 ‘Outsider-witness practices: some answers to commonly asked questions’, The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, no. 1, <https://narrativepractices.com.au/attach/pdf/Outsider_Witness_Common_Questions.pdf>

Workshop notes, 2006, Small group intensive with Michael White, Adelaide, viewed 31 August, <https://dulwichcentre.com.au/michael-white-archive/writings-by-michael-white/>

All images are sourced from the Canva library. The license does not require credit.

Credit: Ava Gomez and Janika Gaona, January 2020

my experience interning in Spain… (minus the ‘S’)

The problem story

Last January, I transitioned from retail assistant in Wollongong to intern at a digital media start up in Spain, in the space of a few weeks. In this new role, I undertook digital marketing activities for the growing brand, We Love Martha. Conditions were not ideal; I was forced to work in what barely qualified as a co-working space, in the dead of winter. This “co-working space” was a half-converted factory with no windows, no heating, and no joy. Worse yet, my “mentor” knew nothing about the area in which I was supposed to be gaining experience. 

Needless to say, after weeks of the blind (mostly just myself) leading the blind (also myself) through research and analysis projects, a rewrite of the website’s copy, and the creation of a rusty social media plan, I was frustrated and annoyed. It didn’t help that my roommate snored all night, which meant I fell asleep at about 4-5am every day (lucky me!), but thats another story.

I had wanted to write about this aspect of my time abroad for months, but was always halted by my bitterness toward it. More than that, I felt so lost that I simply did not know where to start. However, when I came upon late Australian social worker, Michael White, and his work on what he terms ‘narrative therapy’, my internalised story began to unfurl.

You see, in White’s practice of narrative therapy an individual is encouraged to ‘seperate themselves from their problems’ (Walter 2018; Edwards & Walker 2019); and oh boy I had a problem—it clung to me like a parasite. My time in Spain was supposed to be a life-altering, self-reinventing experience that I would look fondly upon as the start of a successful career. Instead, it morphed into a memory of festering resentment that made my stomach churn.

White’s ideas are built upon by his contemporaries and successors who will also be referenced in this abridged version of a narrative reflection. The work of Carey, Walther and Russell (2008) is drawn upon frequently; two of whom were faculty at Narrative Practices Adelaide, the offspring of the Adelaide Narrative Therapy Centre opened by White in 2008 (Carey, Russell & Hall n.d.).

Narrative development

‘Every expression of life is in relation to something else.’

(White 2006)

The concept of the ‘absent, but implicit’ pervades White’s method of narrative therapy. It encapsulates the thinking that it ‘is not possible to talk about anything without drawing out what it is not’ (White 2006). For example, my problem experience interning in Spain was not one that catered to my preferences for structured, relevant skills learning in a positive and supportive environment. This hidden story of preferences and values is what Carey, Walther and Russell (2008) term ‘subjugated meanings’. 

To identify these subjugated meanings, a process called ‘double-listening’ must be employed (Carey, Walther and Russell 2008). This listening process gives attention to both the visible and invisible layers of the problem story, probing at the veiled ideas implicit in an individual’s self-expression (Freedman 2012).

According to Fleming (2003), by examining subjugated meanings an individual can ‘broaden their frame of reference, develop new meanings about their life, and become aware of new possibilities.’ Freedman (2012) expands on Fleming by describing this aspect of narrative reflection as a ‘gateway into that realm of experience where people’s most cherished hopes, aspirations, and commitments live and breathe.’

Thus, in surfacing the subjugated meanings which underlaid my problem story, I created fertile ground to re-author my experience for my future self (Courtois n.d.). I have revealed not only my preferences and values, but also possibilities as to where I can take my next steps forward (Walter 2018).

Upon further reflection, I had already been unconsciously attempting to re-author my professional identity since my problem experience occurred. This is evident as I relentlessly vied for another internship for months after my return, and I recently volunteered as the Vice President of the Digital Media Society. All of these experiences are ones that unconciously embody my values of positivity and creativity, and my preference for a comfortable working environment.

However, since I have now consciously deconstructed my problem story, I am better equipped with the awareness to answer a question that started rattling around my head when I left Spain in January…

“Where to next?”

Carey, Walther & Russell (2009) identify this moment as the final step in scaffolding narrative development because it connects a ‘person’s actions and experiences across the dimension of time.’ This step allows an individual to craft forward momentum in their life, and gives rise to an ‘experience of personal agency’ (Carey, Walther & Russell 2009).


Header image credit: photo of myself shared with permission from Ava Gomez and Janika Gaona, January 2020

Please find references on page two.

opinion: the student experience is more fragile than what is popularly perceived

The student experience is bursting at the seams with responsibility: university classes, study, work, clubs, societies, volunteering… more. It’s the life that was sold to teens straight out of high school in brochures plastered with smiling faces, and it may be their downfall according to a recent student study*.

When entering the terms ‘university students’ into a search engine, the image results tend to portray clusters of young people: books, bags or even globes in hand, faces aglow with zeal. An examination via survey of a small, convenience sample of students reveals that this perception is paper-thin.

Beneath the mid-shots and the buzz-words, exist a cohort of young people grinding to get through their dailies. A majority of survey respondents identified that they have very little spare time in their schedules. A large portion of those who identified this way also expressed that they feel too exhausted and overwhelmed to make effective use of this precious time.

This may seem typical to the average adult. Unfortunately for university students, when our lives lack ‘wiggle room’ we are unable to form critical redundancies which would otherwise be key in these formative years. Consequently, students are unprepared and unsupported against an unexpected shock to their life. 

*(Griffith University n.d.), **(University of Wollongong n.d.), ***(Healy & Pekarek 2017), ****(Reynolds et al. 2017).

Approximately eighty-four per cent of respondents said their overall wellbeing would improve if they had more opportunities to work on it. Worryingly, the same respondents specified that they are currently not able to to form adequate mental health redundancy. The purpose of this redundancy would be to handle significant and unpredicted emotional or mental downturn without compromising or falling behind on pre-existing obligations.

But, if students were afforded more time to do this, what form would these redundancies take? What does the act of making these redundancies look like? 

In short, multiple respondents stated that they would use the time to stress less. Some elaborated that they would focus on rest and mental recovery, alluding to the emergent notion of self-care. When a student can actively form a reservoir of strong mental health as a redundancy to fall back on, they are less likely to experience burnout when faced with sudden trauma (Bressi & Vaden 2017).

Another identified redundancy that is significantly deficient in the student experience is time itself. Students may encounter a shock that does not only require mental space but also physical time to deal with. Responses indicate that many students are uncertain they have the time to handle the situation without serious compromise in other aspects of their life.

For example, one student recently had their life uprooted by an interstate move made on short notice. They say they are now struggling to catch up with university work because they simply do not have the time amongst all the other tasks they must also complete.

A different student highlighted that even though the university has academic consideration policies, and that workplaces have options for leave of absence, these processes also require a time dedication that some may not have. These alternatives also come at the expense of days or weeks worth of productivity and income lost that will be difficult to recover.

The final element in this honest portrait of the true university experience is financial redundancy. Despite common perceptions of the impoverished university student being widely accepted fact, a large portion of survey respondents indicated that they have adequate financial redundancy whether by savings or by income stability. A surprising fifty-seven per cent of respondents have not even had to dip into their monetary back-ups since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of these positive figures, many respondents felt further steps could be taken to ensure more students have secure financial redundancies in place. A very popular idea was a university-run class to improve personal financial literacy with a focus on saving and investing. Such a class may potentially reinforce a student’s ability to remain financially afloat and independent when hit with an unplanned shock, for example not getting their rental bond back.

However, a couple of respondents highlighted that healthy personal finances should remain just that—personal. They believe that university already offers adequate financial support to its students, and that anything more is the responsibility of the student.

Though non-representative, the study on redundancy in the student lifestyle reveals key insights for students, for universities and for other external stakeholders. University students will find value in a re-examination of their weekly schedule to implement redundancy-building behaviours. Simply adding more free time to their schedule or implementing self-care activities is a worthy investment in an unexpected future.

For universities and other external stakeholders, flexibility will always be key when interacting with students. Ruling with an iron-fist when scheduling and assigning responsibilities is a one-size-fits-all path of destruction for any student. It is important to avoid being fooled by preconceptions about the joviality of the student lifestyle and instead engage with empathy and understanding.

*This opinion article is based on a student study, conducted by myself, which examined a small sample of students from my BCM212 class, for which the article is a set assessment. DO NOT cite this source as fact; it is simply an experiment in research and writing skills.

provider brings moral-cavalry to the future of Aged Care

This feature article is part of my PR Writing portfolio for QPS Benchmarking, an assessment partner for my MARK221 class of 2019. QPS Benchmarking is a data science and technology company located in Wollongong, NSW.


QPS Benchmarking’s reporting is more effective than ‘gaming the system’ under new quality indicators, recent enquiry demonstrates.

The Aged Care industry. We like to imagine it as a place of graceful twilight years; the cookie jar always full. Amanda Smith, owner of Apex Aged Care, is confronted with the hard truth each day; Aged Care is a business. Figures. Facts. And now, audits.

The Australian Government’s July 2019 introduction of a compulsory National Quality Indicator Program has codified patient care into a series of audits. These laws were introduced following the ongoing Royal Commission. Though the intentions of the program are benevolent, they put extra strain on the already fatigued providers.

At a recent industry conference, Smith witnessed another provider’s admissions to gaming the system by ‘cherry-picking’ prospective residents. These divisive moves motivated by self-preservation. Smith herself confesses, she cannot stomach such actions.

‘The right way’

Smith sought an alternative to keep in-step with her competition—one which maintains unwavering patient care. She works with the General Manager of QPS Benchmarking, Adam Holcroft, and his skilled team to implement their new National Quality Indicator app.

“Adam makes me feel confident that I am doing right by my staff and our patients. He and his team are responsive and highly knowledgeable about the system; which is why Apex can balance the increased busywork with actual patient care. Absolutely no compromises in sight,” Amanda said.

Cloud-based and tablet compatible, the QPS Benchmarking app utilises a simple data-input workflow that saves time. The required reports are automatically transferred to the My Aged Care portal, no extra effort needed. 

“Backed by rigorous research, the app streamlines the complicated and makes ‘doing the right thing’ easy,” explained Holcroft to Smith.

QPS Benchmarking’s cutting-edge solution ensures Smith does not have to be subversive to tackle the industry changes and still come out on top. By auditing in the right way, Smith has the knowledge at her fingertips to improve for the sake of patient betterment.

Hard work. Caring hearts. Improved care. Accuracy and compliance. It’s Amanda Smith’s mission for Apex Aged care. It’s QPS Benchmarking’s vision for the future of the Aged Care Industry.  

Find out more about QPS Benchmarking here.