Zoe Papagianopoulos: “If you take things day by day, you should be okay”

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Zoe Papagianopoulos is a 2019 high school graduate from South West Sydney. Entering her first year of university studying a Bachelor of Arts, Zoe was not expecting her first year of university to be interrupted with many obstacles. Interviewed by W’SUP editor, Dania Roumieh, Zoe shares her experiences studying during COVID-19, and what advice she may wish to give to first-year WSU students.

 So what did you envision your first year of WSU to look like?

“I think basically the opposite of what turned out to be today. I think the main thing was going in and meeting new people, getting used to like the campus, and hanging out. And then it kind of turned out the opposite. I expected it to be very social in a sense, but also interactive more so than what it is now, but basically just the complete opposite of what it turned out to be.”

How did you feel knowing that you wouldn’t be on campus this year?

“Well at first, when they told us that we’re not going to come back to campus and we’re going to be online for the next few weeks, I assumed that we’d come back. I was only there for two weeks before we went online and in the second week, I was getting to know a few people.”

“As we left our last tutorial that week, we looked at each other and said that we’ll see each other when we all come back, assuming we’d come back that same semester. And when I had that realisation that we’re not going back, I think instantly, my motivation levels dropped. I was so used to a routine and thinking about my day ahead, planning on how I think my day is going to be.”

Figure 1: Zoe Papagianopoulos studying on her bed (Supplied: Zoe Papagianopoulos)

 

How are you finding WSU now that it’s all online?

“To be honest, I’m struggling with motivation. I know some people have been enjoying online classes, but personally, for me, I have not enjoyed it at all. I can see how it would be good for others, but I think I personally enjoy having a routine of like getting up, getting ready to go ahead with my day. But now with everything online, it’s just wake up, get out of bed, go straight into a tutorial. So I haven’t really enjoyed the university overall.”

Are there any positive aspects that you’ve encountered at WSU during online learning?

“The support is really good from my teachers. I really struggled but there was one teacher in particular who noticed I wasn’t motivated, and they were really helpful in making sure I have been enjoying my classes. I enjoyed that they took this into consideration and what was going on during this time. I just think the support system around is really good with everything going on for WSU students.”

 

Figure 2: Zoe is studying a Bachelor of Arts at WSU (Supplied: Zoe Papagianopoulos)

 

What is pushing you to finish your first year of university?

“Well, the end goal, honestly, like this is what I’ve always wanted to do. My end goal is I want to go out and be a teacher. Like if I just give up now, then what’s the point. I got this fall and the support’s been really good and the tutors being really great. That’s just what pushed me to get through it!”

Now that students may be returning back to campus next semester, how are you feeling about this change and what are you expecting?

“I’m excited about that. Honestly, I wanted to go back. I enjoyed the first week, quite a lot. The only two weeks that I was there, and I think it would be good to get to socialize and make people because I didn’t really get to meet anyone at all this year. So like mainly people from like different classes and get to know and like have that social aspect of uni.”

What made you want to become a teacher?

“Always, I’ve always, ever since I was in childcare, I just remember thinking like I want to relax in stages ever since I was little, I always looked up to my childcare teachers. I’m the second eldest of 11 grandkids. And I’ve always grown up with like little kids. I just love it!”

Any additional comments?

“Just the main thing is like, it’s not as hard as you think. I had planned on it to be a certain way. If you take things day by day, it should be okay. And not worry about what the future is going to look like, because if you just do it day by day, then you will get there eventually.”

 

Dania Roumieh

I’m a final year Bachelor of Communications (journalism) student that aspires to explore the stories…

Dania Roumieh

Dania Roumieh

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