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What to Expect in Your Transition from High School to University - Thomas Harris

What to Expect in Your Transition from High School to University

Your first day at university is one of the most exciting days of your life. You can’t wait to make new friends and start learning some new ideas. But, what kind of challenges are you going to face when you get there?

The best way to get an answer to this question is to hear directly from a student.

Meet Thomas Harris.

He’s 19 years old and just finished his final high school exams last year. He had an ATAR high enough to enrol directly into his degree. But if that’s not you, don’t worry; there are lots of other ways to get into the degree of your dreams!

Thomas is now halfway through the first year of a Bachelor of Business at APM College of Business and Communication, which is part of Torrens University.

“I am currently studying my Bachelor of Business, which was inspired by the career my uncle had with this degree. I always admired how far his business degree had taken him across the world.

I am passionate about many things: music, concerts, basketball, and my family. However, with my ‘country boy’ heritage, my biggest passion is to explore and travel the world. I decided I wanted to build a career with unlimited possibilities.” – Thomas

When Thomas started his degree, he wasn’t only dealing with the move from high school to university. He also had to cope with the shock of moving from the country to the city.

What to Expect in Your Transition from High School to University - Thomas Harris

One of the first things he had to adjust to was the difference in size between his small school and a big college.

“I grew up in a rural town called Tamworth, in North West NSW. There were only 45 boys in my year at high school.

Transitioning from a country school to a university in the city was a challenging experience, however, I adjusted quickly. I believe this was due to the small class sizes of 25 that the university offers. This is more personal and allows guidance to be given when needed.

This helped me a lot, as this was similar to what I was used to in my small country school, with classes of a similar size.”

Going from high school to university is one of the big transitions into adulthood a person can experience.

This is reflected mainly in the different teaching style. At University, learning is much more independent. You’re expected to keep track of your own schedule and take responsibility for your learning.

For many people, this is also a time when you move out of from home and take on part-time work to support your studies.

Taking on more responsibilities is never going to be easy to start with, but as Thomas discovered, you will grow and adjust with practise.

There have been various challenges I have experienced throughout my first year of living in Sydney.

Finding and balancing a job with my studies was the toughest challenge, however, I managed this through ensuring I completed my study and assessments in advance.

Another challenge was getting used to the public transport system and the vast amount of people.

I am currently renting a share house in Parramatta and travel via train to university. Coming from a small town where I could drive from one side to the other in 10 minutes, a cramped, 40-minute train ride seemed foreign to me at first. There were various times I would arrive late to class due to this. However, through practise I improved and my days arriving late were reduced.”

What to Expect in Your Transition from High School to University - Thomas Harris

When you start your degree, it’s important to look around at all the opportunities available that can help you in life and in your career.

This year, Thomas volunteered to become a student ambassador at Torrens. This gives him a few more responsibilities in the student community, and it also brings some great rewards.

“As a student ambassador at Torrens University, I have had the opportunity to participate in some great events, and have learnt a lot about myself as well.

I have had the opportunity to represent APM College at the Moore Park Careers Expo, where I got to meet hundreds of potential students. This was great practice in public speaking and really helped to develop my confidence.

I have also assisted on open days and the Torrens University ‘Day in the Life’ event, where we took keen potential students to industry workplaces like the Google office.

I believe being a part of the student ambassador program has been an excellent opportunity for my personal development as well as to gain a better understanding of how the business world works.” 

Thomas’ future is looking bright.

He’s made it past the initial challenges that come with the transition into university and has adapted well to his new life. He’s even recently got a professional role, working as a Marketing Assistant at a global market research company. Go, Thomas!

He managed to get to this point in less than a year. Just imagine where you can get, too.

So, what does Thomas dream of doing in the next few years to come?

“My main objective I aim to achieve with my degree is not only a qualification but life skills that I can take with me and constantly build upon throughout the rest of my life.

The main reason I chose Torrens University over the rest was because of the emphasis on employability and industry experience. With this in mind, I have progressed through my first year and landed an excellent start to my career at IRI Worldwide.

I believe this success was due to the Torrens University Lecturers and mentors, who use real-life advice and experience from their own careers to benefit the students.”

Learn more about the Bachelor of Business at APM College, and here for more information about study pathways at Torrens University.

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