Q & A with Amy Norman, Chief of Staff, Session C January 2015

1. Did your attendance at NYSF at the beginning of year 12 have an impact on your university choice? For example, did the NYSF show you that there was more than one university to choose from when it came to selecting which courses you chose to study?

 The NYSF definitely had a major impact on my university selection. Coming from Queensland, I was only familiar with Queensland universities. You can imagine my shock when I discovered there was a University of Melbourne, as there isn’t a university of Brisbane! The NYSF not only made me realize there were other university options, but also gave me the tools to investigate further and the opportunity to speak directly to people from those universities.

 Over the course of the forum, there are workshops and opportunities that directly focus on university preparation. From discussing scholarships and university entry, on top of living in university accommodation for two weeks, I left NYSF more informed about my options and excited to begin my tertiary studies. Being surrounded by passionate students from all corners of Australia only amplified my excitement to begin. Studying in another state was no longer a daunting concept, as through NYSF, I knew I could decide to go anywhere and there’d be an NYSF student to welcome me.

2. What were some of the challenges of being Chief of Staff on session?

The NYSF is such an incredible program, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to return to session. Being Chief of Staff is a unique experience where you get to see the whole cross section of the program, continuously interacting with students, staffies, NYSF staff and our partners in both industry and university.

This year we had more students then ever before which created new challenges and forced us to re-evaluate and alter aspects of the program. To see the positive reaction of students enjoying new features of the program was very rewarding.

Aside from the logistics though, the glue that holds the session together is the passion brought by both the students and the staffies, which made my role much easier.

3. What advice would you offer year 12 students when it comes to selecting a Bachelor Degree and University?

Weigh up your interests and options, and make a decision that is your own. I had a number of fields of interest pulling me in different directions, but what I found helpful was considering the question ‘If I could only do one thing for eight hours straight, which would I prefer to do?’

For university, consider the size of classes you would prefer and the facilities you value. A great way to compare the same degrees at different universities is to compare course lists (which can be found on university websites) and see how the degree is structured. It also gives you glimpse into the types of areas you’ll be studying. But truly, the best way to get a feel for universities is to get on campus and talk to people there, so definitely try to attend at least one Next Step Program. It was an experience that made my decision a lot easier.

Amy Norman, Chief of Staff Session C January 2015

Amy Norman, Chief of Staff Session C January 2015

4. Have you had any work experience / internship in your chosen field of study?

One of the requirements of an engineering degree is to complete 60 days of work experience. I’ve been fortunate to work at GHD, a multinational engineering consulting company, working in both regional and metro centers. I’ve been exposed to an array of engineering and have even been given my own projects to complete – from designing a playground swing set to flood mapping. Work experience has allowed me to apply what I’ve learned in my degree directly to the workplace and given me the opportunity to talk directly to engineers about study advice and career direction.

Finding work experience placements can be difficult, so I’d definitely recommend attending any networking functions university student clubs may offer and talking to people from the industry if they have any work opportunities available.

5. Last words? 

To be a NYSFer is to have the world open up before your eyes, with opportunities abounding down every pathway. I’d encourage all NYSF students to stay in contact, wear your NYSF bag proudly and you’ll be surprised the interesting people that you meet. Enjoy the Year 12 experience and remember to think big!