Benjamin Ruge’s first year of Communication & Journalism at Griffith
What’s the first year of uni really like? Balance – but don’t take our word for it.
First year communications and journalism student, Benjamin Ruge, shares his experience about the transition from school to uni – and how to embrace it.
Why did you choose to study Communication and Journalism at Griffith?
I knew Communication and Journalism was the perfect fit for me. I chose this degree as I wanted to pursue a journalistic career since high school, and Griffith University offered an innovate and leading combination of the two to provide students with versatile skills to aid in any job industry.
How was your first week at uni and your move to the Gold Coast?
The first week at uni was seriously nerve-wracking – but to the point where the nerves turned into excitement and adrenaline for the new adventure I was pursuing. It gave me the courage to put myself out there and approach new people. It gave me confidence in myself, as this was my first independent journey away from home. I grew up in a regional NSW town called Taree. I knew for quite some time that I wanted to move to the Gold Coast and I stuck with it. I moved up on the weekend before orientation, but I was staying with my Uncle and Auntie in the suburbs north of Brisbane until I could acquire adequate housing on the Gold Coast. I did have to commute three days a week to the Gold Coast for classes, which was a pain, but most days it wasn’t too bad – it was all still so new and exciting. I also have a few cousins dotted around Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and even though I didn’t have a lot of contact with them prior to moving, it made the move a lot less daunting knowing I had something familiar in the area, especially since I was moving interstate which seemed like a pretty huge deal for me. But I was very determined, and even though driving home can take more than half a day, it’s worth it. I was very lucky to have family in Brisbane to fall back on for support.
How would you compare uni to high school? What’s the biggest difference?
The biggest difference between uni and high school would have to be the freedom and flexibility you’re offered. Even little things like being able to pick your own timetable is pretty awesome, not to mention the lifestyle on campus, which is really chilled and proactive and free.
What’s the biggest challenge since you started uni?
The biggest challenge since starting uni would be mastering a study pattern. It’s easy to fall behind, but hard to catch up. Time management would have to be the biggest struggle, but it just takes a little practice and commitment.
What is a regular week at uni like for you? How many hours are on campus and how much other study do you need to do?
I am one of the fortunate students that only has classes three days a week (still studying full-time!), and the best part is, this semester I only have classes Monday to Wednesday, so I get a four-day weekend! However, a fair portion of my time outside classes is spent working on assignments almost every week, as my degree doesn’t require us to do exams. But it’s quite flexible, still plenty of time to socialise and work a couple shifts if you have a job. Again, just takes a little time management and dedication.
Advice for new students?
My biggest advice tip for new students would be to relax. Obviously, do your workload and then some where required, put effort into your assignments and studying. But have fun while you’re doing it. Keep a strong network of friends and an active social life, and especially take time for yourself. Take one day a week to focus on yourself, otherwise the grind of lectures and studying won’t be enjoyable or satisfying at all. It’s all about keeping a healthy balance of your commitments.