Bachelor of Arts student, Mary Ali, studying at home

Student spotlight: On working with Bauer and studying Education

6 July 2020
Meet Mary Ali: Bachelor of Arts, English/Education major
Mary recently completed an Industry and Community Project unit (ICPU) and got to work with Bauer Media Group. She shares her experiences, answers questions about online learning and tells us about what the University of Sydney is like.

What was it like to work on an Industry and Community Project unit?

The Industry and Community Project was one of those inspiring courses that combined students from various disciplines to collaborate on a response to solve a problem identified by a company the University has partnered with.

I was really lucky because I got to work with a group of students from different backgrounds - a neuroscience student, a marketing student, a film studies student and a historian, to address the future of media (our set task).

My class was super fortunate because we got to work directly with Bauer Media Group who were on board with everything from the start. They were always around to offer professional advice, guidance and valuable feedback.

Our tutor, Dr James Collins, was also phenomenal. He was always checking in, making sure we were focused and on top of things. He facilitated any type of meeting that we needed and his support made online learning so much easier. 

You can find a list of projects and more about the Industry and Community Project unit here.

The Industry and Community Project unit will give you access to industry experts to work on something big!
Mary Ali, Bachelor of Arts student, English/Education major

What’s the most challenging thing about studying Education? What’s the best thing?

The most challenging part about studying Education was developing a sense of critical reflection. Critical reflections are a staple in Education because we need to analyse and consider how we navigated school, and the ways that our knowledge has been constructed by discourse and society.

After that course, critical reflections became my favourite thing about Education, because I was able to apply it to all areas of my life. It helped me reconsider my understanding of success and hard work, as well as perceptively understand how my identity and sense of self have been constructed.

A huge shout out to Dr Remy Low, Dr Victoria Rawlings and Julian Wood for being the best professors you could ask for in Education, they are always happy to answer questions, give you feedback and have open and honest conversations. If you are ever lucky to have them, you’ll know exactly what I mean!

Find out more about the Education and English majors.

Was it difficult studying online as opposed to in-person classes?

At first, I thought it would be, but I was wrong. When classes switched online, I mostly feared a lack of engagement within the classroom. I was so lucky that all of my professors were passionate about learning and calibrating the classes to our needs. I was quite surprised by how organised, efficient and effective the lessons were, especially considering how quickly things moved online! It was the best. I loved it!

What’s it like to study at the University when you’re on campus?

Studying at the University of Sydney has honestly felt like magic. It’s not just because you’re surrounded by big Hogwarts Buildings, but because you’re constantly seeing professors and students walking around or eating at one of our various cafes while they carry their books and laugh with friends.

There are many libraries as well, from Fisher to Sci-Tech to my favourite - USYD’s best kept secret: the Schaeffer Fine Arts Library.

One of my favourite parts though, is that everyone is alike, whether they’re studying English or Engineering, the universal goal is to learn as much as possible, and make the most of classes where the professors are so accommodating and are dedicated making sure their students succeed. 

Why did you choose to study a Bachelor of Arts with an Education major instead of the Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Arts?

The reason I decided against the double degree is because I realised that whilst I longed to teach, I didn’t want to restrict myself to secondary education.

I really wanted to branch out and study some Media units, English units and even History units! I love studying all kinds of things (I even studied maths in my first year-but I wasn’t very good!), so I felt it would be best to major in English and Education, whilst dabbling in other areas so that I could decide what I loved most and then complete my Masters in it to specialise in Teaching or Media Practice.

But if you’d like to go straight into specialised teaching for high-school students, then you need to do the Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Humanities and Social Sciences)/Bachelor of Arts.

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