This week I started as a Senior Communications Advisor for the Covid Response team within the Dept of Health. I have been amazed by how much I have learnt, and am seriously loving every minute! The best bit has been realising that I’m actually good at this, picking up things communications professionals with years of industry experience haven’t. So to say it’s been a blast is an understatement… I actually used things I had learnt in your subjects as examples of how I had corrected a comms problem or how I used a different use of media in another context etc. I literally have experience doing things I need in the real world – and that’s down to you.
This was part of an email titled ‘My little success story’, sent to Emily Wade and myself on 17 September 2021. The sender was Claire Walker, an undergraduate student neither of us had taught in at least a year. I’m sure Emily would agree with me that as terrific as this success story is, there are two things wrong with it: it’s not ‘little’, and it wasn’t ‘down to us’. We may have helped out along the way, but Claire got there herself.
I’ve called this blog ‘Results’. This term will immediately bring to mind two other words for most students: marks and grades. This is no doubt the case for the teachers who allocate and submit results, as much as it is for the learners who receive and dwell on them. But these aren’t the results I’m interested in – and I do my best to make sure students aren’t as preoccupied with them as well.
Like the ATAR score that becomes redundant the moment you get your university offers, the list of numbers on an academic transcript will be of little interest to the vast majority of employers. The results I want to highlight here are a little different. They relate to the achievements of students who push themselves out of their comfort zones; who build a professional network and portfolio; who hope to show those in industry what they can do rather than let a piece of paper tell them; who look to add value to the world without expectation of return. These results relate to students who have not even graduated yet.
Lots of commentators have lamented how the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed even more roadblocks in the path of students, restricting opportunities to build a career in an already competitive environment. Well, now Trimester 2 of 2021 draws to a close, and the second full year of this global disaster nears its end. Yet it seems significant that I’ve had more student stories like Claire’s reach my by email, tweet, or direct message than in any trimester before. And these stories have inspired me.
So here are some stories conveyed to me over the past two months. It’s best I let the words of students say the rest.
Maybe they’ll inspire you too…
I wanted to thank you too for this semester. I have been learning many things and more importantly, you boosted my confidence. I feel like I owe you my new job as a community manager. Without ALC701 I wouldn’t have been aware of what I am capable of. Now I feel that I have many tools available in my pocket, thanks to you. (email from Margot Forgeau, 27 September 2021)
Just wanted to personally thank you [and Sally Brandon] for a great experience with ALC701!! You made the unit so engaging and I learned SOOOOOOOOOOOO much (and also had a lot of fun doing it!). Seriously, I really found myself as a storyteller/communicator throughout this unit. I’m already working on a Kickstarter for a client and have a couple of my own projects in the works now, too. (email from Rebekah Reeve, 27 October 2021)
Would You Like to Know More??
Haven’t had enough yet? Here are some more stories of woe from slightly earlier in the pandemic…