Stories from the past 25 years at UWS
My dream has always been to be a researcher. When I was 17 years old, my family fled the civil war in Lebanon. We succeeded on the second attempt, after a first attempt in which our bus was attacked on our way to the airport, leaving many of the adult males dead. After I arrived in Australia, I studied at UNSW, ANU and UWS and worked as a tutor at Sydney TAFE, WEA college and as a research assistant at UWS in 2011. In 2009, I enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Interpreting as a first step towards undertaking the Masters of Interpreting. I decided to do my fifth degree at UWS because I have believed that its reputation was sky-rocketing and I could complete my degree with flying colours. I rapidly fell in love with the Bankstown campus.
Then, however, there was an administrative roadblock. I was sent a letter informing me that I was excluded from the course because I failed to lodge my HECS form on time. Talking to the student help desk provided little in terms of a way forward. I talked to a student counsellor, but no one was able to do anything. Then I decided to email the Vice-Chancellor, hoping to get a positive outcome. I did not give up because I knew I deserved a second chance.
To my delight, I was allowed to re-enrol—but, best of all, when I went to supply my Tax File Number, I was greeted by the same operator who had not been able to help me previously. It turned out that I was sent a letter of exclusion by mistake, rather than a letter of reminder to submit the tax file number before the deadline! Now, several years on, I have finished two degrees (a Masters of Interpreting and a Graduate Diploma in TESOL), and I am currently finishing an Honours program in the acquisition of English as a Second Language. I even made it on to the Dean's Merit list (2010) for my achievements in TESOL and have been granted a scholarship. This year, my five first cousins enrolled at UWS, the university which has been the reason for my achieving so much towards becoming a researcher in the future. This is my story -- I am looking forward with joy this year to completing my seventh degree!
My first association with Hawkesbury campus came in the early 70's when I came from the Northern Beaches, a long way then, for Open Day. I remember loving it all then and thinking it was somewhere very special. I clearly remember a pipe band come down between the residences and on the grass you could not walk on and the milking area, which I think is now the library area. I moved to the Hawkesbury as a young mother and so my association with the campus continued. I used to bring my children to the Open Days and buy milk, butter, cheese and ice cream from the dairy shop. It was and still is the best flavour I remember. In 1994 I came to the campus as a student and graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Horticulture). Since then I have worked away from the campus for brief periods before returning as an academic and technical officer in 2003. I have been here ever since working on Hawkesbury, Parramatta and Campbelltown campuses. I love this institution and the people who work and study here. I am not alone with this feeling. It is not something one can explain, it is for me a sense of belonging.
My earliest memory of UWS is from the 1960's. As a child I
was always bemused at the man from Hawkesbury Ag College, with the rubber glove
up to his shoulder, who used to come to our property and inseminate our prize
cow. As a family we loved the open days, ice cream, cheese etc and of course
the rides in the dray behind the clydesdales. I commenced working at Hawkesbury
Agricultural College on 13th February 1982, after being asked to come and help
Finance out for 3 weeks, and am still here. Would take a novel to tell all the
changes during these 32 years, not a clydesdale in sight anymore, no stockmen
on their horses, no pigs, chickens or cattle. Also no Yates seed trials
happening, which turned the paddock at Horticulture into a sea of colour.