Looking at the whole picture: My experience at Western Sydney University

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By Vanessa Noble:

We see it every day, people forming opinions based on a single experience with an organisation. People may have a bad experience with airline staff on a flight, with a checkout operator at a major supermarket chain or with a tour guide whilst they are overseas. In many of these instances people persist in ridiculing the organisation involved, in forming a negative opinion of them and in communicating to everyone how bad they believe the customer service really is. Conversely, other individuals may have a very positive experience with an employee in an organisation and their entire perception of the organisation is enhanced as a result.

What I am trying to get across is that many people do not view organisations as a whole and do not base their whole perception of a given organisation on their individual experience with one or a few employees. This is also relevant to universities around Australia and the world, particularly when students persist in ridiculing universities based on their experience within their respective degree and school. Personally, I have had a fantastic experience so far at Western Sydney University studying my Bachelor of Psychology. Not only is the degree itself interesting and the staff professional and friendly, but the method of content delivery has also been fantastic across the board. Many people do complain about online lectures and material, however I have found that if this is executed well then this material is sometimes even better than when it is presented live. Additionally, throughout my experience so far, staff have persistently encouraged students to provide honest feedback on units of study and staff members. Although some individuals believe that this feedback is not considered, I do know for a fact that much of the feedback that is provided is acknowledged and I have seen changes implemented to units in proceeding semesters based on student feedback.

Although my experience has been fantastic, I know that other students’ experiences have not been as good. However, I also believe that ridiculing or ‘dissing’ the university as a whole based one’s individual experience does not achieve anything. If you do not like how a unit was conducted or the quality of teaching by a staff member, provide comprehensive feedback in the unit evaluations at the end of semester. If something is of concern to many students in a unit, email the coordinator or organise a meeting to voice your concerns. If contacting respective persons in your unit or school does not result in change, contact representatives on your campus student council who can potentially voice your concerns higher up the university hierarchy. If you are having a really bad experience within your degree and school, then change universities and see whether your experience studying elsewhere may be better.

In recent years, our university’s reputation has improved dramatically as a result of many changes, with one large modification being the recent name change and advertising campaigns. Yes, there are still aspects of course structures and university life that could be improved, however no organisation will ever be perfect and as long as attempts are being made to seek feedback to grow and improve, then that to me is a sign that an organisation is trying to be the best it can be; I believe that Western Sydney University is doing this.

So next time you find yourself or someone else dissing a university, business or organisation, think about whether your or their opinion is a reflection of a bad individual experience or whether it really reflects the respective organisation as a whole.

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