What motivated you to study architecture?
I have always been interested in design and thought about pursuing architecture for most of secondary school. I changed my mind a few times, but studying Visual Communication Design in VCE solidified that architecture design was the way to go, as I love combining creativity and logic. As soon as I started university, I knew I had chosen the right degree and have loved it ever since.
What did it mean to you to receive a George Alexander scholarship?
I was incredibly excited when I found out I had received the George Alexander scholarship, potentially more excited than my university offer! It has allowed me to work less to focus on not only my university work but also other extra-curricular opportunities. Knowing I had more money behind me, I could confidently take on a role as a volunteer Residential Leader at my Uni residences this year and travel to Malaysia on a study tour, both amazing opportunities where I have experienced a lot of personal growth.
Tell us about your study tour to Malaysia and what you took away from it.
In January of this year, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Malaysia on Deakin's iDiDe (Intercultural Dialogue through Design) study tour. Initially, I didn't know first-year students could attend this tour, so I almost missed the deadline.
When my tutor mentioned the opportunity to me, my scholarship allowed me to quickly jump on this incredible opportunity and not have to worry about the financial aspects.
iDiDe has been running for a decade, taking Australian built environment students to Southeast Asia to work with local students on a local design project. It was really interesting to see how studying architecture differed in another country. Yet, there were many elements that we could all connect over, like our unique way of experiencing a city through architecture or the lack of sleep for architecture students!
The greatest thing I took away from the tour was the opportunity to experience a new country through the eyes of students living there. It is a unique way to experience a new place, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to explore and learn about the vibrant and diverse city of Kuala Lumpur in such a deep and meaningful way.
It was also interesting to see first-hand how environment and culture change architecture. My fellow Australian students and I were shocked to see the huge gutters on the side of the road, often almost a metre deep, yet this seemed self-explanatory to the Malaysian students, used to the high volumes of torrential rain in the Malaysian climate. I think this study tour will go down as one of the best and most unique experiences of my life, and I am so grateful that I got this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and experience a new country so early on in my career.
What does a typical week at university look like?
Architecture has a higher number of contact hours compared to other degrees. We have a combination of technical and history units for which we attend classes and tutorials and then our studio units that involve developing a design based on a different brief each trimester. When I'm not in class, I will spend time working on our content or doing some casual work, and in my downtime, I catch up with friends or take a walk along the Geelong Waterfront.
How do you take care of your well-being and prevent burnout while studying?
I have almost finished my second year at university, and I have learned a lot about myself and how to take care of my well-being since I began my studies. This year, I have learnt how important it is to find some time for myself to do things that make me happy. Whether buying a pizza and having a movie night or hanging out with friends, I have found it important to at least try and forget about my coursework every so often. University can be a lot of hard work at times, but I have found it is important to understand that university is not just about work and grades but an opportunity to grow, try new things and meet new people.
Do you have any big-picture goals for the future?
In the future, I'd love to complete a Masters and become a registered architect, but I am not quite sure which area of architecture I want to work in yet. I'd love to try a bit of everything and see where life takes me.