When Huishu (Sue) Chen started studying a Bachelor of Interior Design (Commercial) with Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University in late 2017, it was a leap of faith, but one driven by passion.
After working in corporate and international tax, Sue was returning to full time study, following her passion to become an interior designer.
“I had such dread returning to tertiary learning after so many years of full-time work since my previous studies.
“I took the plunge and followed my passions and my heart to interior design,” said Sue.
“The staff and students I have met along the way have made my journey a true pleasure... I have been given unique opportunities to explore new horizons and make a difference to the future of design.”
Helping others strengthen their voices, and advance their learning
In June 2021, Sue officially graduated from her degree at the Design Graduation in Brisbane.
Not only was Sue chosen to be the graduate speaker at the graduation ceremony, but her lecturers also selected her as the winner of the ‘Be Good’ Award.
"Sue embodies the Be Good ethos of Torrens University Australia by helping others find safety, strengthen their voices, and advance their learning. She was always willing to help mentor her classmates and was the student representative for SONA - the student organisation of the Australian Institute of Architects, coordinating student volunteer events and talks with many universities,” says Nina Starkey, a Learning Facilitator at Billy Blue College of Design.
“At a global level, Sue worked on a live design brief designing floating schools for flood-ravaged regions of Bangladesh and she was an illustrator for the 2021 Indie Book Award winning Uncovering Morocco, Materials and Finishes, documenting the explorations of the Billy Blue College of Design study trip to Morocco. Sales of the book re donated to Project Soar, an African-based organisation that empowers teenage girls in the developing world to continue their education.”
“Sue also participated in a competition to design caravan trailers that could provide shelter for displaced refugees with ZeroPlus, an organisation that translates theoretical research topics into viable social enterprise projects. This project was a finalist in the national technology and innovation competition QODE.”
From student to lecturer
Having successfully completed her studies in 2020 under the challenging circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sue is now a lecturer with Billy Blue College of Design.
“Getting here has been a long road for me... I took what you might call the scenic route to get here.
“But what has remained constant are the very things that made studying here so attractive in the first place... the small classes sizes and such passionate lecturers and members of faculty who give so much of their time and attention to support the students,” Sue said.
“This is what is at the heart of what sets Torrens apart from institutions... and why it has made such a lasting impression on my life. I am privileged now to be a member of this amazing faculty and continue to make a difference in students’ lives."
Never stop learning
In her address to her peers during the graduation ceremony, Sue encouraged them to follow their hearts and pursue their passions.
“Never stop learning.... You never know where life with take you and what opportunities or obstacles it will throw in your path.
“This is not the end of your learning journey... you will continue your learning throughout your career. Face every new obstacle as a potential new learning opportunity. Every mistake or every wrong turn in life teaches us something,” she said.
“So follow you heart and follow your passions and pass on the lessons you have learned here at Torrens to your future colleagues, your future employees and on to the next generation.”