I often forget the enormous number of experiences and adventures I've had during my time at Western Sydney University, so, when I sit down to write an article like this, I can't help but laugh at the memories.
When I started my degree back in 2013, I knew I didn't just want to go to class and then head home. I wanted the full university experience and spent as much time on campus as possible doing anything from helping out at the Western Sydney University Farm to playing Frisbee on the oval.
At the time, I just wanted to have as many new experiences as I could. Little did I know that by taking this 'all or nothing' approach, I was gaining something far more valuable.
During my second year of study, I became involved in a social engagement program which gave me and other students the opportunity to work with non-profit organisation Youth Food Movement (YFM) Australia. My project team worked in a professional business environment to see if expanding Youth Food Movement
to incorporate a chapter in Greater Western Sydney was a viable option. In addition to the professional skills I gained, I'm proud to say that as a result of this work, we now have a YFM chapter run by students at Western Sydney University, providing young people with education on food issues affecting
all of us, such as nutrition and food waste. I also took the opportunity as a Western Sydney University student to attend a number of industry conferences around Australia where I expanded my professional knowledge and networks to further my career.
I think by far the biggest adventure in my university career was the opportunity to go overseas and study for a year at Montana State University in the USA as part of the Western Sydney University Study Abroad program. During this year, I was able to refine my knowledge and skills in the area of cattle
reproduction and make some awesome friends along the way. Needless to say, I never thought a degree in agriculture would allow me to travel this far but I was proven wrong time and time again, heading out on field trips across the USA to places like Utah and Washington as well as all around Montana.
My experiences have shaped my professional identity, opening up new career opportunities and allowing me to be a professional before I even graduated. In fact, even before finishing my degree, I was employed full time as a dairy genetics consultant whilst completing my final units of study via correspondence.
It is the extracurricular opportunities I took advantage of that allowed me to achieve this and I would encourage all students to go the extra mile and make the most of their time at Western Sydney University.