Lucy and I met on our first day of Uni. We spoke sporadically, said hi when we saw each other around campus, and occasionally sat next to each other during a lecture. However it wasn’t really until second year that we began to bond over a serious problem we were both facing. We didn’t realise our Bachelor of Psychology degree had progression requirements. This meant that we couldn’t graduate with Psychology without a Distinction average. For you Uni students out there, we all know that this is a pretty difficult mark to get.
At this point, we became completely helpless. Filled with anxiety about the future, we continued to go to Uni each day without acknowledging the giant elephant of the distinction average in every lecture theatre. ‘We’ll be fine’ we thought, ‘who even cares?’. Foreseeably, to the defeated Rose and Lucy, we weren’t fine.
Yet instead of changing courses, dropping out, or considering other possibilities, we persevered. With this lingering distinction average at the back of our minds, we fell into a trap of learned helplessness. Maybe this was a result of our lack of knowledge about our options, or maybe it was simply some underlying stubbornness. Either way, we didn’t change.
We recognised that being at Uni required us to be independent but this had come at the cost of seeking support. Learned helplessness had been guiding our everyday Uni experience and we were utterly disillusioned with the process.
I remember sitting on my lounge with Lucy complaining about our lack of knowledge, our lack of willingness to change and our struggle to determine the rest of our lives. And then, perfectly on cue, we turned to each other and said “something needs to be done about this”.
We began to explore this issue and found that it wasn’t just us experiencing this problem. Our peers, our friends, and even our own siblings were going through the exact same cycle. We thought- what if we gave Year 12 students all the information about Uni that we wish we had when we were in their position just a few years ago? All the little logistical details as well as the broader perspective of another student that would help align their expectations of Uni with the reality of Uni.
projectHUNI was conceived.
So we sat down and compiled everything we’d learnt throughout our two and a half years at Uni. And no, I don’t mean the- how to decipher the multidimensionality of psychometric testing- kind of learning. I mean all of our stuff ups, our speed bumps, and our successes. The things to watch out for, the little logistical details that no one tells you, and most importantly, the fundamental differences between High School and Uni. This established the first segment of our talk.
As we began sifting away at our mistakes and successes we also recognised how important it is to tell the Year 12 students that stress doesn’t go away. Yes, you’ll get stressed, you might do a few of your assignments last minute and you might fail a few assessments but there are ways to avoid these mistakes and reframe your emotions. This forms the second part of our talk where we explain these delicate concepts and ways to navigate them.
Finally, the program explores the big pain-point that is choosing a course. Recently, projectHUNI have developed the Course Resource*. Essentially, it reinvents the way we choose our Uni course by putting interests at the forefront whilst lessening the focus on the blunt criteria of ATAR and institution.
Over the course of our 10 school visits we have tweaked, refined and improved our content based off the feedback from Year 12 students.
Funnily enough, the structure of our talk mirrors the structure of our Uni experience. We were lost at the beginning, so we tell these students everything they need to know to avoid this. Then we became stressed, so we give them ways to reframe and normalise this stress before it becomes detrimental. Then we hadn’t done enough research into our course, so we emphasise the importance of this.
When our expectations fail to meet reality, we become disappointed with the outcome. Let’s avoid this by talking to students before they realise they need this kind support two years too late.
Prevention is undeniably better than cure.
If you know a school, a community or even a student that would benefit from a program for students by students, head towww.projecthuni.com/contact.