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What to do when Uni is less then you expected

I have always been one to expect a lot and my dad always tells me that I shouldn’t waste time on things I can’t change. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with that.

When I commenced my study at QUT in 2010 it was after a solid break from formal study. I did a two year gap year. Traveled, got married, you know the usual :) I was very psyched to get into my studies.

Unfortunately I was very under-whelmed. The first IT lecture I attended was appalling. I couldn’t believe this was going to be the memory of my first lecture I would carry with me for the rest of my life. The worst of my high school teachers would have put this guy to shame. He couldn't even use his own computer or manage the PA system and it only got worse and worse over the semester. Over that first year lectures kept repeating the phrase “uni is not like school, its going to be a lot harder”. I just kept thinking "It sure isn't! School was better then this!" Fortunately I discovered a few good lectures and tutors here and there, especially in my Interactive and Visual Design courses, but on the most part they were few and far between.

Luckily I am not one to give up easily. I got talking to a lot of people about their first year experience and found many in IT felt just like me. Not so much so in other disciplines, some had good experiences, but some not.

Not getting what I wanted out of most of my IT courses I spent lots of time on forums, joined free or cheap online courses and I dove into learning anything and everything I could about web design & development.

On of the things I am most grateful about my school days is that my school and my family taught me how to learn and do it on my own.

Along with the stuff I did online I also got out in the community.

  • This past year I was a volunteer mentor with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), a fantastic organisation helping indigenous kids stay in school and empowering them to go after what they want in life.

  • I attended the Australian Computer Congress 2010 (ACC2010)

  • Became a member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and attended a number of their events

  • I volunteered at the YOW Developer Conference and attended a number of Yow Nights!

  • Through Meetup I have gone along to the German Club and the Ruby on Rails Brigade and am booked in to attend the next WordPress and Brisbane Web Design meetups.

This semester I am helping re-establish the Information Technology Student Association (ITSA) at QUT and we have a lot of things planned.

So the lesson is this. If you are feeling under-whelmed or worried your degree isn’t cutting it or its not training you in everything you need then go make it happen. As my dad always likes to tell me. "Accept the things you can’t change; have the courage to change the things you can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

Don’t blame the University and do nothing. Get out there and try to do something about it.

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