Growing up in a small city in Austria, Jasmin Semlitsch is used to having the wonders of Europe on her doorstep. But a five-month solo trip to Australia at 18 changed her entire life. “When I decided I wanted to stay in the country, I thought I wanted to go to uni. I was working in hospitality on the Gold Coast and Griffith happened to be located there as well and I ended up enrolling.” With no clear vision of degree choices, Jasmin eventually chose a double degree in International Business and Law. After a year, and having had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study a winter semester in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University, she discovered her passion lay with the law and chose to transfer to the accelerated law program to complete a straight law degree in three years.
Studying five courses each semester, Jasmin decided to take a six month break to travel overseas. “About 2/3 into my degree, I deferred a Semester and went travelling – no uni, no work; just incredible life experience. Then I got stuck back into my final year of studies when I returned.”
Graduating from a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Government (majoring in Politics and Public Policy) and Commerce with Honours, Councillor Shayne Sutton never thought she would end up working in politics and going to the ballot box for Morningside Ward in 2004. After graduation, Councillor Sutton was originally aiming for a life in the public service writing policy but instead became the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Brisbane City Council. See how her degree helped her to the position she holds today.
As a Griffith Film School graduate in the Bachelor of Animation (3D Animation and Character Animation) Stephanie Tomoana balances her time between her work as a professional at Alt.vfx and freelancing in graphic design, illustration and animation. Living by the Walt Disney quote, “the difference between winning and losing is not quitting,” Stephanie credits hard work and persistence as the key to developing a successful career.
After seven years of gruelling study and dedication to become an MD Brendan Goodwin is about to commence his intern year at Princess Alexandra Hospital. With the pressure of his final exams behind him, this Doctor of Medicine graduate will soon be able to immerse himself in new overseas experience, learning from international medical leaders in London and Montreal.
The Careers Team asked Brendan about his uni experiences, reflections on being part of the first Griffith Honours College cohort and where he sees his future heading.
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I originally went into Biomedical Science with view to one day studying medicine. However I changed my mind about my end-goal a few times throughout the course of my undergraduate degree, but came back around to the idea of medicine by the end.
Attending University presents challenges, but for many, the end result can be the satisfaction of obtaining the ever elusive ‘dream job’. Our 30 Grads in 30 Days project has illustrated this fact, but the idea is eloquently summed up by midwife Kirsten Penney,
“I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this.”
Kirsten had no idea what to expect when she started University. She began a nursing degree to gain entry into midwifery and was the first in her family to attend University. She also has two children and admits she didn’t really know what Uni would be like.
“I started with the thought ‘even if I fail a few courses, that’s OK, I’ll still finish’. I thought that’s what you did – you didn’t know what you were doing and you just failed,” she said.
With a career spanning 40 years, Terence Seymour has worn many different hats. Leaving school at age 14, he went from being a draftsman to an underground construction foreman before moving into Human Resources. Along the way, Terence has studied Engineering, Human Movement, and Sport, completed a Masters of Administration at Griffith University and is currently enrolled in a PhD. He describes his attitude to studying as an “insight into how to think and depending on the course of study or work you’re doing, it will give you different ways of understanding the world.”
“I think what my studies have given me is an insight into how to consider issues and think through the implications of those.”
After setting up his own business for a few years and working as an Assistant Commissioner in the Tax Office, Terence moved across to Uniting Care Health. Here he spent time as the Director of Human Resources, responsible for renegotiating all industrial awards and agreements and as the GM of the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital where he focused on creating a positive working environment for employees.
As a mum with three kids, Toni Mason always knew she wanted to be a teacher. With the support of her loved ones, Toni graduated in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Education – Primary (Early Childhood Education) and was awarded the Education Medal. Prior to graduation, Toni was in the middle of her prac at Calamvale Community College when she was offered a job teaching Year 1 students.
The Careers team sat down with Toni to find out she’s finding life after uni, juggling a family and teaching commitments and how her career may have taken a different direction if she had accepted her first Griffith University offer.
What made you decide to study teaching?
It was always something I wanted to study but I never got around to it until I was older. I was a parent with kids and being home with kids and knowing you are working school hours allows you to arrange a flexible schedule. I knew I would be able to come and work from home on the things I needed to do. And kids – that’s the other thing. I love teaching kids, they are fun and it’s always a challenge. It’s exciting and never boring. You never go through the same day twice.
“I spent a lot of time doing things within the Honours College – I was involved with volunteering and went on a trip to Cambodia and last year to Vietnam. I was given the chance to see the world”.
Your university years are often said to be the best of your life. Yes, there are the late night cram sessions, awkward share house situations and a severe lack of funds leading to overindulgence in goon and two minute noodles – but for the most part, university provides a fantastic environment for personal development, excellent experiences and lifelong friendships.
This is particularly true for pharmacy graduate Rebecca Curran. Rebecca illustrates how making the most of your University experience not only gives you fond memories, but can give you opportunities that set you up for the rest of your life.
Despite losing her sight halfway through her Griffith University degree, giving up was never an option for Samantha Alexander who graduated with a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the mid-year graduations today.
The indigenous Sydneysider, who studied her degree online, said the biggest hurdle was learning how to use voice-over speech software.
“When I started university I could still read text books, so not being able to read print was very confronting,”she said.
With the help of Griffith’s Disability Support Services, Sam taught herself how to use voice-recognition and speech software.
“From reading textbooks myself to having to listen to a monotonous voice read the text to me and remember that information was a huge learning curve.”
“It’s an entirely different style of learning.”
Sam has an incurable degenerative eye condition called Cone-rod Dystrophy which affects her peripheral and central vision.
She is legally blind and had to give up her driver’s licence three years ago but has maintained her independence, completing an indigenous cadetship with NSW Corrective Services in 2014.
At 18, Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate Daniel Collins thought he would be married, living a comfortable suburban life and teaching in Brisbane. In his 3rd year of uni, Daniel’s study exchange to the US changed everything. With a love for all things science and travel, Daniel is currently teaching Biology and Chemistry at a Catholic school outside London and has a reputation for enjoying weekend snowboarding trips in Switzerland and term breaks in Egypt.
The Careers Team caught up with Daniel while at Nordcap in Norway (inside the Arctic Circle) to see how he combines his love of travel with educating students about science.