The wonderful wizard of Western: making the most out of your Western experience

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I think about my first day on campus and how easy it was to get lost. Following the crimson bricked pathways which seemed to have my head in circles, I wasn’t sure if I had made a mistake. My heart was beating so fast; I wasn’t sure if I had developed heart disease or not.

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Source: Wizard of Oz (1939), Warner Bros.

My name is Mandii Carr and sometimes I wonder if I have a brain at all – I guess some people without brains can do an awful lot of talking!

“I guess some people without brains can do an awful lot of talking image.” Source: Wizard of Oz (1939), Warner Bros.

Somewhere over the rainbow, I started at Western Sydney University in 2012, undertaking my Arts Degree. I finished that in 2017 and then went into my Bachelor of Communications. I was also involved in student representation for four years and with my interest in events, I put on over 150 events during those four years. If you know me, it’s likely we met at one of the events I was running.

“Somewhere over the rainbow.” Source: Wizard of Oz (1939), Warner Bros.

I have just completed my final semester of study and I was lucky enough to be offered a full-time role at Western Sydney University in the Student Experience and Marketing unit.

That’s my experience, at Western Sydney University, in a nut shell. As my time as a student ends here at Western Sydney University, I’ve been thinking about all the things that have made my time at Western memorable and I wanted to share this information with other students.

So here we go:

“Follow the yellow brick road image.” Source: Wizard of Oz (1939), Warner Bros.

Hearts are there to guide you.

During my time at Western, I have been a part of the SRC, participated in MATES and LEAD. I contributed to W’SUP, created a student club, lived on campus, trained in the campus gyms and more recently worked here. You could say that I live and breathe Western Sydney University. While you might not need to take it to the extreme to get the most out of your experience at Western, you should get involved. So let your heart guide you.

Here, here, what’s all this jabber-wapping when there’s work to be done?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “How do I get a job here?”. I cannot stress this enough – sign up to jobs on campus, check your emails and apply for everything. One small time casual contract can open the doors to many opportunities. In those experiences, I was very fortunate to work across so many divisions and use those experiences to network and refine the skills I already had and learn new ones along the way.

You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom.

Western is truly unique in the sense that we have so many campuses including several uniquely distinctive verticals and being able to experience it all was a true highlight for me. While this isn’t fundamental to your experience at Western Sydney University, it definitely helps if you would like to work for the university. It’s critical if you’re looking at student leadership like Citizen Scholar or joining the SRC – you can’t represent your constituents when you’re unfamiliar with their campus and each unique factor that affects those students and campuses. Campus events are not all equal and you will find lots of student-led events are held at Parramatta South and Parramatta City campuses.

It’s funny, but I feel as if I’d known you all the time, but I couldn’t have, could I?

If you’re looking to make friends on campus, you have to actually spend some time on campus. Use your WesternLIFE account and join a club, hang out at the student events, attend an open air cinema, join a collective, go on an out and about trip. Please don’t say you can’t make friends on campus because there are over 30,000 students on each of our campuses – that’s 40,000 friends you just haven’t met yet. As they say, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.

As for you, my fine friend, you’re a victim of disorganized thinking.

Writing for W’SUP is not only good for you and your CV (*cough cough* Comms students *cough cough*) but also good for the students who get to read various content produced by their peers. You are all powerful and have so much to offer the world. Share your thoughts and knowledge and creativity. W’SUP loves having your content and if you can’t think of a brief yourself, send them an email and they can give you some content ideas to help your creative juices flow. Submissions go here!

A baby has brains, but it doesn’t know much – Experience is the only thing brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.

Use every chance you can to network, grow and develop – join MATES or LEAD – which will give an insight into who you are as a person and as a leader on campus. Please apply for any and all scholarships, make your goal to get on the Dean’s Merit list and if you get the chance, please to go to conferences! Make sure you complete your Ally training, go to workshops and simply upskill at every turn. Grasp every chance and use every encounter with an academic as an opportunity to network with them – you never know when you’ll cross paths with these people in boardrooms in the future. As the scarecrow says, “I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”

Frightened? Child, you’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe… I was petrified.

I guess now that you’re graduating, you may be a little afraid to enter a new world, with new experiences on the horizon. Try to think of yourself as immersed into the pathway at Western, for future students to use as a stepping stone in their own adventures. Remember that the power of good is greater than the power of evil and that once you’re an Alumni, you should never close the door on an opportunity that could present itself from the Western experience. You could be asked back to mentor students, to participate in marketing materials and networking nights. Consider giving back to the intuition that gave you everything it could, because, as Dorothy would say – there’s no place like home.

 

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