Prior to participating in the Extension Studies program during my last year of high school I had many misconceptions about university, what university life would be like and the requirements of doing a degree. When it became an option to do this program I was nervous, but excited to experience university life without having to commit to the pressure of doing a degree.
Participating in a topic at university opened the doorway to a kind of studying that I couldn’t have experienced during high school. Suddenly I was exposed to independent learning and discussions with people from different places, different cultures, and different age groups, providing me with a new perspective on your chosen topic as well as life in general.
The exposure to lectures and tutorials was an eye-opener for beginning my first year in a Law degree – unlike most other first years, I knew what to expect from spending a significant time on university grounds in Year 12, and understood the need to read the materials and attend the lectures. Not only that, but I knew the best times to get a car park, the best food to get, the nicest places to study, and I was well accustomed to moving out of my comfort zone to talk to other people. You begin to learn that networking is best done at university.
There is a significant difficulty in managing Year 12 and a university topic through the Extension Studies, particularly during the second semester when the timetables do not match up by at least a week or so. This is the time to learn that time management is ESSENTIAL, and last minute assignments are counter-productive to doing well and giving yourself time to relax. There is also difficulty in arranging to get to university, particularly when your tutorial or lecture times clash with a Year 12 class at school or you have to rely on public transport. Be sure to organise with your teachers at school an arrangement should a tutorial clash with a school class, and remember to check with the topic coordinator of your university topic to see if the lectures are online – this will help in the event that you can’t get to university to be there in person, keeping in mind tutorials require attendance.
All the best!