Bachelor of Science student, Benjamin Howes, talks about the wealth of opportunities available within undergraduate study.
I began my Bachelor of Science wanting to pursue health sciences, having been inspired by the positive impact that healthcare has had on my family and friends. After my first year I took a Gap Year working an internship as an Outdoor Education Instructor on the Great Ocean Road. It was here that I discovered a love for working outdoors and encouraging young people to engage with their natural environment. I also had the opportunity to learn about creative, innovative climate change adaptation and mitigation methods, which later inspired me to commence a major in geography.
From studying glaciers in New Zealand to bushfire research at Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, landscape management in farming villages in China to aid-based climate change adaption projects in East Timor, the opportunities available to students within the Bachelor of Science have seen me travel both domestically and internationally. These experiences have enriched my time at Melbourne and have allowed me to make many new friends across the world while networking with inspiring and friendly academics.
I've also taken advantage of opportunities to learn beyond the classroom. I've volunteered in the Melbourne University Community Garden and for Student Welfare, assisted with Orientation Day hosting, taught at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, and been blessed to work in the Students@Work program, all of which have helped to grow my professional and employability skills.
Through all of this, I have learnt that knowledge and talent are incredibly valuable, but interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate ideas clearly and critically is just as important! Embrace every opportunity to show enthusiasm in classes and network with teachers and academics – they can offer many exciting learning opportunities outside the classroom. Make great use of key services like Academic Skills and Career Advice, not just when you are in need of extra support but also to build your skills. Embrace exchange opportunities and get involved with a variety of clubs and societies – engaging with leadership opportunities in the campus community is a powerful way to stay engaged and grow leadership and interpersonal skills.
Finally, make sure to ask heaps of questions and make a conscious effort to make new friends - the extra support really got me through the challenges of the new environment like finding my way around campus and navigating practicals. It's been an amazing ride so far and I'm still getting blown away by how much I'm learning.
Benjamin received the Melbourne Global Mobility Award and a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant, which helped him travel to New Zealand and China respectively. He has also been working toward the Leaders in Community Award (LiCA).