Bona's bona fide self-discovery in the Bachelor of Design

Bona Lee relocated to Melbourne from Brisbane earlier this year to start her Bachelor of Design at the University of Melbourne. We caught up with her to ask about her first year experience with us.

What attracted you to study the Bachelor of Design?

I realised I wanted to pursue fields that I was passionate about. I have always been eager to be involved with activities about design. I would attend crafting workshops, business seminars, and read up on architecture books in my spare time.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance to study the Bachelor of Design at the University of Melbourne, especially since I was having doubts about continuing my secondary school subjects. I am enjoying everything so far, and making sure to attend as many Industry nights and networking sessions as I can.

What has been the highlight of university so far?

The biggest highlight so far is my involvement in the UMSU International’s Central Australia trip, which took place in July this year. Although I wasn’t an international student, I decided to tag along. I made many new friends during the two week trip to Uluru. Not only were the sights impressive, but I felt so welcomed into the UMSU and broader university community. I want to keep being a part of it whenever I can.

What is your favourite subject so far and why?

My favourite is a breadth subject, Principles of Marketing. I found the subject material very useful and relevant for professional and personal life, and I really appreciated my lecturer for being an engaging figure during lectures.

Marketing teaches introductory principles that can be applied to various aspects in life, because they go through customer behaviour, product development, service management, and many others. Given that students will have to communicate to many other people in the industry, I found that this subject complemented Design very well.

What about your favourite subject within the Bachelor of Design?

So far I am really enjoying the Economics and Cities subject. We’ve covered basic principles and concepts for economics and how it affects design and cities.

The most important thing I have learned is that knowledge can be subjective, and will always adapt with news and trends over time. This can be seen a lot in design, because different people will have different solutions to the same problem. There is never one right answer, and I believe this sentiment is crucial in design.

What are the most valuable skills you have learnt so far?

The top one has to be time management. I thought I was already quite organised in high school, but once I started university I quickly found out that study, activities and socialising can all eat up time, and I frequently overbooked myself! I am learning how to effectively pace myself, which I found is a crucial skill to pick up.

Another valuable skill has been learning to work in teams. Being able to schedule, assign roles and delegate tasks to bring the best out of each individual means that every team requires different ways to function well.

What subjects did you complete in secondary school?

In secondary school, my subjects did not seem to reflect on my current major. I took a selection of subjects that are infamous for being hard: Maths B, Maths C, English, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. These “unrelated subjects” helped me to realise that they may not be the field for me, and I ended up selecting Design instead. Even though I would have appreciated having a head start for my current Design courses, it hasn't been a barrier for me in the course.

You’re originally from Queensland. How have you found adjusting to life at Melbourne?

Adjusting took a while for me. There are so many factors to consider, such as the city lifestyle, meeting new people, housing, even the different public transport.

I also arrived alone, so I had to make the effort to meet new people and make friends. It felt like I had moved to a different country, not a city! But being open to new experiences has made me grow to love Melbourne. It helped that I was able to connect to a friend who helped familiarised me here.

What other challenges have you faced since coming to University?

I have found it difficult to form deeper connections with the friends that I have made. As an extrovert, I have had no problems with meeting new people and starting conversations, but it has been hard for me to become more than casual acquaintances with them.

Upon reflection, I believe making time is an important factor when making true friends. I am learning not to overcommit myself and have made it a priority to lessen my commitments and reach out to my existing friends to hang out together.

What would be your dream project in your future career?

Currently, I would love to manage and be a part of a team to design a new office space in the CBD. I would like to test my skills in a challenging environment, gain real-life experience, and meet interesting new people.

What are you doing or planning to do when you have completed your studies at Melbourne?

For now I’m not thinking of further study; instead I want to gain industry experience after my Bachelor of Design and put my skills and knowledge to the test.

Interested in studying Design?

Learn more about the Bachelor of Design