Prove your humanity

Grok Magazine sits down with Angeline Goh, an upcoming first-year student who’s just completed her UniReady bridging course, as we begin to talk about her personal experience with transitioning from high school to university. 

To start things off, we ask Angeline about why she chose to attend Curtin University, as well as whether it was something she had thought about doing while at high school or after she graduated. “I feel like going to university was something that I hadn’t really thought about while I was in high school – it was more so something my parents wanted me to pursue, so that I would have a better chance of getting into the career that I wanted.” 

Although her parents would constantly encourage her to enrol at university, Angeline admits that she was always doing the bare minimum when it came down to her grades. “I wasn’t really great at high school, as I was usually trying to pass rather than aim for high results. And so, I really didn’t think I’d be suited for university in general.” With this being said, she confesses that she initially planned to get a job at McDonalds to earn some money, but it wasn’t until the student services coordinator at her high school started to go around her campus questioning students about what they wanted to do after they graduated, that she was then informed about the UniReady enabling course.

“Essentially, UniReady is a six-month bridging course at a set university that you have to attend. You are also able to choose the units that will serve to be an entryway into your desired career path.” Having described the purpose of the bridging course, she then goes on to articulate how the application process worked. “I applied for UniReady through TISC, and I was given a choice of whether to go to Curtin, Murdoch or ECU. Of course, ECU and Murdoch were way too far from me in terms of commute, especially since I didn’t have my license.” Angeline says. “I already knew Curtin well since I went to the orientation. I found both the students and teachers to be very friendly there. The environment seemed a lot better for me overall, so I decided to attend Curtin University.” 

Image Credit: Peta Valero

Remaining on the topic of UniReady, Angeline illustrates how she felt while undertaking the bridging course. “I actually went into UniReady last year, as I wanted to pursue a major in Psychology at the time. One of the pre-requisites was Health Science, but since I didn’t do ATAR during high school – more specifically, human biology – it was extremely difficult for me to retain all the necessary information within a five-month period.” Understanding that her lack of prior knowledge had contributed to her unsatisfactory results, she then goes on to explain how she was later placed on conditional status – a position which gave her one last attempt to complete the bridging course.

“UniReady is technically free. All the lessons and resources that you’re given are free of charge, so if you’re just abusing that factor and not actually trying, why should they give you multiple chances? It’s preventing other people who genuinely want to go to university from coming in.” Angeline justifies. 

“So, as a result of my conditional status, I tried extremely hard this year to pass. I made sure to choose different units that I would most likely be able to understand and be good at. I also began contemplating whether I should pursue Language Studies instead of Psychology.” Knowing well that linguistics was something she would excel in, Angeline spoke with her student coordinator about her options, and upon being introduced to the world of international business, she decided to go into commerce with the intention of starting off with a major in Mandarin before progressing onto a double-degree in both Mandarin and International Business. 

Moving on, we question Angeline about the university workload, followed by whether she found it easier or more difficult compared to the amount of work she had to do in high school. “I can’t really speak for other university students, but I honestly expected the capacity of work to be a lot more condensed with strict deadlines.” She answers. “If I were to compare it to high school, I would describe UniReady’s workload to be similar to that of ATAR. However, regardless of whether you did ATAR in high school or not, it’s still a lot of work to do.”

Image Credit: Peta Valero

Our conversation gradually progresses onto the social environment that universities provide their students with. “I think making friends and maintaining social relationships really depends on the person. For me, making friends is really easy. But since everyone is of a different age, has different interests and are studying different things – I find it pretty difficult to maintain that connection with others.” Affirming this, Angeline proceeds to theorise as to why some students find it hard to make friends, while others do not.

“If you’re more introverted, you’re more likely to keep to yourself and only talk to classmates and tutors when needed – particularly during group tasks, where you’re pretty much forced to talk to people and work together. If you’re more extroverted however, you would probably find that it’s not too hard to make friends at university. But whether or not you choose to maintain those friendships is completely up to you.” 

As we arrive at the topic of lectures, we ask Angeline how she feels about the tutors at Curtin University compared to her teachers at high school. “I feel like in high school, a lot of the teachers will baby you.” She laughs. “No matter what level you’re at in high school, the teachers will always hold your hand throughout your assessments and exams. As for university, there’s no way something like that would slide. Since the tutors are a lot more experienced in the teaching field, they expect you to already know what you’re doing, or at least have an idea of what you need to do.” With this being said, Angeline conveys how she enjoys working with her tutors a lot more in comparison to her high school teachers. 

“The tutors at Curtin University reply to your emails faster too! It’s usually expected that they’d get back to you within forty-eight hours – which is already amazing as it is – but I would sometimes get a response within two or three.”

Image Credit: Peta Valero

Reflecting on her high school years, we inquire Angeline if she’s had a drastic educational and social change in perspective after graduating high school and attending university. “Oh for sure!” She exclaims. “During high school, I was a very sensitive and emotional person. And as for my studies, I was pretty lazy. Looking back though, I think my behaviour had a lot to do with my parents enforcing their ideals onto me at a young age.” Saddened by the number of interrogations and comparisons she’d constantly receive from her parents, Angeline resultantly maintained her academic and social habits even after she started to attend university.

“I only really started to notice a change once I began studying units that I actually enjoyed. In addition, the tutors here are always nice and friendly to work with, which is very different from what I was used to back in high school. Eventually, I became more academically motivated; my assignments are now worked on immediately, rather than left to the last minute.” 

Reaching the conclusion of our interview, Grok Magazine asks Angeline if she has any advice for students who may be nervous about enrolling at university. “I would honestly recommend UniReady to high schoolers, as it’s more financially convenient. Since the bridging course is free, it gives you the opportunity to decide whether you really want to attend university or not.” Having said this, she subsequently describes how the high school curriculum can often retrieve students with a close-minded mentality about getting into university. 

“Throughout high school, you are drilled into thinking that the only way you’re guaranteed to get into university is through ATAR. But there are many other pathways you can choose like UniReady – which is why I highly recommend it to high school students who are considering going to university.”