Hailing from Melbourne, Pamela discovered a love for literature in high school. For a time though she only considered it a creative interest, an artistic pursuit rather than a serious academic or career path. Little did she know she would be graduating one day from ANU, with Honours in English.
“I found the academic challenge of studying English at ANU was in fact significantly improving my critical thinking and communication skills, attributes that will be invaluable for any career.”
A visit to her high school by government minister also sparked an interest in international relations. Coming to ANU Pamela was able to combine her interests in both topics, studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of International Relations.
“I chose to study a Bachelor of International Relations. In choosing ANU I was well aware that the University is globally recognised for its leadership in the fields of politics and international relations.”
Located in Canberra, the heart of politics and diplomacy in Australia, ANU offered an ideal environment to pursue these topics. Exemplifying this was the opportunity Pamela enjoyed to undertake an internship with the very same minister who years earlier had inspired her path in international relations. It was an opportunity Pamela regards as a highlight of her time at ANU.
The transition to university can be a difficult one. Many students find the style of learning different, and are discouraged by joining a larger cohort of very successful students. Pamela’s story is no different, and the lesson for students facing this is that they too are not alone.
“One of the more challenging aspects of my transition between school and university was learning to manage higher academic expectations. Tertiary education demands a different kind of learning than what I was used to in secondary school, as the emphasis shifts from rote learning to more independent, critical thinking. Personally, I didn’t achieve very good grades in my first year at university which reflected my struggle to cope with the academic demands of university.”
If you can face these challenges, embrace the opportunities for growth, and find support from friends and teachers along the way, you can succeed and thrive. Along the way lecturers are influential figures in a student’s journey, they can introduce you to topics you hadn’t considered and make sense of ideas you may have once shied away from. For Pamela, a course in modernist literature with Dr Russell Smith offered such an influential point in her journey.
“I was inspired by Russell’s passion for modernist literature and it was during this course that I discovered my interest in modernism, which would ultimately evolve into my thesis topic of D. H. Lawrence and the First World War. I believe I would not have done an Honours year without Russell’s input to my learning. I was also fortunate to have Russell as one my Honours coursework lecturers this year.”
Pamela has enjoyed a variety of experiences while at ANU, both on campus and beyond. Working with the Humanities Research Centre and the College offered the opportunity to meet diverse members of the University community and help inform the path of future students. The opportunity to give back and to learn through work have been incredibly rewarding. Perhaps the most memorable highlight was spending a semester abroad at the Université de Genève in 2017, taking her to Europe and affording her the opportunity to volunteer at United Nations Open Day.
Looking back on the experiences she has enjoyed, the friendships she has made, and the new knowledge that has empowered her path forward, Pamela is proud to have come to ANU and of what she has achieved.
“I chose to study in Canberra due to its unique standing as a university town. As a result, ANU quickly becomes your home away from home as you instantly feel a part of a vibrant community of students. Studying at ANU also gives you a strong sense of independence and freedom to be yourself as the University is an inclusive environment that allows a student to thrive on both personal and academic levels. Choosing to study at ANU was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made because it has given me a world-class education in a unique student environment.”