An Interview with Peer Mentor Clayton Alexander Carner

Clayton Alexander Carner has completed his Bachelor of Science and is excited to share some of the things he'd wished he had known in first year.

A photo of Clayton Alexander Carner, a Science Peer Mentor in 2019What year are you in the Bachelor of Science and what are you studying? 

I completed the Bachelor of Science at the end of 2018 where I majored in Chemistry and specialised in Medicinal Chemistry. This was an interesting blend of chemistry and pharmacology focused on drug design from a chemical perspective.

As is one of the beautiful features of the Bachelor of Science at Melbourne, I was also able to study many other subjects along the way including biology, biochemistry, mathematics and more.

Do you have any hobbies outside of uni?

I enjoy playing music and recreational reading in my down time, but my favourite hobby would have to be playing sports - namely squash, tennis, and futsal. Also, I love to binge watch a good TV series, although I would advise caution when doing this because you can really get lost in a good show!

On the whole, university is incredibly conducive to hobbies and interesting activities, so take advantage of the openness of your schedule and make time to do what you love to do!

What did you find challenging about transitioning to university?

Staying on top of all of your classes can be a daunting task. Transitioning from a high school setting where your teachers largely dictate to you what must be done and when, it might be strange to find that university studies afford you a lot of leeway. This can be great in that you now have more flexibility surrounding your study, but it is also a responsibility in that you must wholly self-motivate!

Honestly, this is not a difficult thing to do, especially now that you are studying what you enjoy rather that what you have to; simply make sure you do readings, revisions, questions and most importantly assessments in a timely fashion and you’ll be right as rain!

What advice would you give someone about Orientation week? Are there any sessions that you think students really should attend?

Orientation week, or O-week, is a great way to gain familiarity with the university campus and get some tips and tricks to prepare you for classes, all whilst having a lot of fun! Information about the LMS, financial aid, future exchange opportunities, and clubs is readily available to anyone interested, but make sure to book online in advance and schedule your week! O-week is run by the university for you guys, so take advantage of it!!

Did you find it easy to make friends in first year?

Making friends can seem like a vain effort on a campus on over 50,000 students! However, you will have regular interactions with the same people every week in labs, tutorials and workshops - so be friendly and you will get to know these people easily. Clubs and societies are another great way to make friends, with regular meetups of like-minded people bound to spark a friendship or two!

How did you cope with adjusting to studying at a tertiary level? What advice would you give a new student?

Studying at university is unlike the study you’ve done before. The content is usually more technically difficult as you would expect, but don’t be overwhelmed because you have plenty of time and resources to deal with that!

Online lecture recordings are also certainly a temptation away from attending and engaging. It is not uncommon for many students to attend only university tutorials/labs where attendance is taken and to watch (or not) lectures at home, meaning that they only come into uni one, two or maybe three days a week. My advice: Don’t do this! You cannot get the most out of your education by deprioritizing your classes, and these bad habits all too often catch up to students at the end of the semester. University will not overwhelm if you don’t give it the chance, so go to class!

Do you have any other words of wisdom for students starting out in the Bachelor of Science in 2019?

Jump on every opportunity to meet new people, seek to learn more than just the facts on your lecture slides to learn science with more satisfaction, and have fun whenever you can (within reason, of course)!

Find out more

Become a Peer Mentor