Felicity's first year guide to the Bachelor of Design

Your first year at university is often the toughest. Adjusting to new-found independence and being surrounded by so many people can be overwhelming, but it is also a time full of opportunity. Enter Felicity Karakiklas, a Bachelor of Design student who just finished her first year and shared with us her tips for nailing university.

What was the highlight of your first year at university?

The highlight of my first year is the independence you get to experience as a student compared to being at high school. The ability to come and go into campus as you need for classes; the flexibility in selecting subjects from different majors (electives) and different faculties (breadths); the range of clubs, activities and sports groups to join and immerse yourself in; and most importantly the endless supply of coffee on campus.

What advice do you have for other students?

The advice I could probably give to students is to be open minded and be willing to take risks. Your first year can be a little daunting, however if you approach it with an open mind anything is possible. You will meet many people from different walks of life… and this diversity is great! Embrace this diversity especially when completing group work. I have learned a lot from other people providing different opinions and methods in completing a certain task.

How have you dealt with the challenges of adjusting to university?

Adjusting and transitioning from high school into University is challenging. You will need to learn to prioritise and leave plenty of time for uni work (be prepared to do the readings), while also finding balance for work, health and a social life. At first this can be quite challenging, however once you’ve worked out a routine it definitely gets a lot easier!

Another piece of advice I could give is to ask heaps of questions. Your tutors and workshop leaders are approachable, and so if you don’t understand something you should ask for their help. This can also be said for your degree in general, the terminology used at University can be quite different to high school with terms such as electives, breadths, cores etc. being thrown around. If at any time you’re confused or even need course advice speak to Stop 1 (they’re super helpful and can pretty much solve anything!).

What majors did you choose? Why?

When I applied for the Bachelor of Design, I had intended to only major in Urban Planning. But after exploring different interests through my degree I determined that I was also interested in pursuing a major in Construction.

In completing a double major, I feel that I have the opportunity to broaden my understanding of the development, expansion and evolution of cities. I will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to make a decision about which area I would like to specialise in for my post-graduate studies.

What was your favourite first year Bachelor of Design subject and why?

I have enjoyed many of my first-year subjects, however my favourite first year subject has been Cities Past and Future. It explored the development and changes of metropolitan areas throughout history, taking into consideration the forces that influence the growth of the developed world. This subject provided me with insight into how our cities have evolved over time and the potential our cities have to be shaped and changed in the foreseeable future.

What are some of the skills you have learnt while studying the Bachelor of Design?

The greatest skills I have learnt are associated with teamwork. Working together in cooperation with other people in groups is a frequent occurrence in the Bachelor of Design. As a result, I have developed skills such as communicating effectively, flexibility and adaptability. Finding a study group to work together when studying for assessments has been really effective for constructive feedback and encouragement to do well.

My presentation and digital technology skills have also been enhanced through the Bachelor of Design. Having the ability to effectively communicate an idea, visually and orally is crucial in the classroom and in industry.

What would be your dream project in your future career?

At this stage, my dream project would be one that benefits people. I want to create something which considers the daily lives of people with the built and natural environment that we surround ourselves with, and address social and environmental factors.

Melbourne consistently ranks highly amongst Universities in Australia and the region. How important is it for you to graduate with a degree from a world standard university? Why?

Having met people from all over the world and having spent some time travelling the importance of being a globally recognised institution has become apparent; especially considering the global community that we live in today and the vast array of opportunities that exist.

However, my advice to high school students selecting universities is to consider other aspects, such as wellbeing and whether the degree offers what you want.

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