This was part of my ‘Crash course to Uni‘ workshop
If you had told me in high school that I would get my golden ticket to Melbourne Uni – I wouldn’t have believed you.
Picking Melbourne Uni
I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to study at uni when I was in year 12. I knew I wanted to continue studying after my year 12, so a gap year was out of the equation.
I was looking at a number of courses – event management, teaching, marine biology, sociology, neuroscience, engineering, psychology…the whole lot! I wanted to study everything, which didn’t help me with choosing a course.
I knew for certain that I loved science – but I didn’t know what area in science I wanted to go into.
Narrowing down the universities
I was a late-comer to the whole ‘let’s go to open days’ thing. I attended my first open days when I was in Year 12 – I checked out Monash, RMIT, La Trobe, Deakin, and of course, Melbourne Uni.
Here is what I found when I was visiting the university open days. Don’t get me wrong – I am NOT a fan of the ‘which university is better’ debate, blah blah.
Monash wasn’t right for me – but I couldn’t (and still can’t) pin point why. I had a gut feeling once as soon I stepped onto campus that this was not the place for me. La Trobe was smaller compared to the other universities, plus it was a big hike for me – but I was a fan of the greenery, nature and their wildlife sanctuary. I found RMIT too ‘all over the place’. It didn’t feel very homely because all the buildings are scattered everywhere.
So I narrowed my list down to Deakin and Melbourne Uni.
Deakin was really great. It was modern, the facilities were nice, they had interesting courses, and they offered double degrees (I wanted to do a double degree in science and education at the time).
And Melbourne was beautiful with lots of historical buildings and greenery around campus. The course offered me flexibility, there was a very strong social aspect on campus, it was super convenient for me to travel to uni, plus – Melbourne had that reputation of being the number 1 uni in Australia.
I actually put Deakin down as my first preference *gasp*
I didn’t think that I would get into Melbourne Uni, so I put Melbourne second. I didn’t think I would the ATAR to get in. And everyone went ballistics. People eventually knocked some sense into me that there was no harm in putting Melbourne as my first choice. And if I didn’t get in, I still have Deakin.
And of course, looking back now, I realised how stupid I was putting Melbourne second.
I switched my preferences around, and made Bachelor of Science at Melbourne my first choice. And that was the best decision I’ve made.
The Melbourne Model
There’s a lot of mixed reviews about the Melbourne Model, but the Model was a selling point to me because of its flexibility.
To those who don’t understand the Melbourne Model, here’s a brief overview.
The model was introduced in 2008 and instead of offering a gazillion different degrees, it has now been replaced by 6 general degrees. So in first year, you do very general and broad subjects related to your course, then you start to specialise from second year onwards.
I love knowing that I’m not locked into anything specific, and there’s so much flexibility and freedom associated to the courses. I spent my first year checking out a range of difference sciences – Biology, Psychology, astrophysics, Geology etc. And it was about mid-semester 2 that I figured out what I wanted to major in – Zoology.
You also have ‘breadth’ subjects – which I loved. Breadth subjects are those that are different to your course. So in my case – I had to do subjects outside the science ones. Some view breadth as a waste of time, but I saw breadth as an opportunity to take a break from my heavy science subjects. It was refreshing, it gave me a chance to learn something different, and it allowed me pursue other interests besides from science. So I was happy.
And – I loved my breadth subjects so much (and was doing so much better in them) that it made me consider switching degrees…
The campus was another selling point of the University to me – it’s so beautiful! Although it may seem like a maze when you’re new to the campus, you will get used to it very quickly.
Besides from the buildings, I loved the greenery on campus. South Lawn, System Garden, and the other lawns around campus are great for social occasions.
Sense of community
Talking to many people at the open days – I realised that Melbourne had the biggest social/community presence. It was homely, people were very welcoming and I could see myself fitting right in.
There is always something happening on campus – it’s exciting! And, how many clubs do we have now? (Answer is, A LOT).
Public transport wise – the commute to Melbourne Uni was really easy. It was very convenient to get to Uni with public transport. Trains will take you to city, and most trams on Swanston St will take you to the uni’s doorstep, same with buses.
Although Melbourne ticked all the boxes for me, it may not be right for you – and that’s perfectly okay!