By Isabella Apap, Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences
When I was in high school, I used to hear the Year 12 students talking about applications, degrees, scholarships and early entry, which sounded quite overwhelming to my Year 10 ears. I used to wonder, all of the time, where my path would lead me beyond school. Soul searching was draining at times, but in the end, it was so worth it.
Finding myself at Macquarie Uni was exactly where I dreamt of being when I was in Year 10, all those years ago, I just didn’t know it at the time. 2019 kicked off better than I expected. Adjusting to my new university life was so exciting, I couldn’t wait to explore the stalls set up at O-Week and meet more people with goals and passions aligned to my own. So much of my childhood was filled with movies and TV shows of stars going off to university to chase their goals, join a society and live their dreams.
But, disappointingly, I couldn’t see myself fitting in to any of the societies. Were my expectations set too high? Were they unrealistic? I couldn’t work out why I had imagined my uni life being so different to what it was in reality.
It wasn’t until I noticed an email from the GLP team in my second year of study, that everything started to make sense. All of these opportunities were waiting for me and I had been blind sighted from them in the initial part of my university experience!
My first Colloquia was online, unfortunately being impacted by the COVID–19 pandemic. Initially, I thought that online learning was going to impact my experience so much that I wouldn't want to engage with the material despite the fact I was significantly interested in it. Surely not, right?
My instincts were wrong, thankfully, and they have continued to be wrong all the way through my GLP experience. For every Colloquia attended, I have been able to actively participate with the material and appreciate a different perspective each time. They have provided me with experiences and understanding of topics that were, at times, outside of my comfort zone and challenged my beliefs. To this day, I think about some of the things I learnt during my GLP experience.
One of the most influential Colloquia I attended was Global Population Growth. Whilst in the comfort of my own home, this session transformed my outlook on the world in one sitting. Our world has a population of 7 billion people, which is a huge amount. The statistics for population growth throughout history clearly demonstrates that we have hit 7 billion a lot quicker than we hit two billion or five billion. The rate of growth is undoubtedly fast, raising the question, 'Will our earth will be able to support the continuously populating human race?'. This is where my preconceptions were challenged, because it's not the amount of space that we will run out of - if 7 billion people stood shoulder to shoulder, we would only fill the state of Los Angeles. In fact, the main reason is that our sustainability ratio will fail us, as one third of the population supports the remaining two thirds agriculturally. With the majority of people living in suburbia, this trend will continue, and the farmers will have to supply at even greater demand, which may not be feasible in the long run. This is crazy, but so true!
In the end, the point is - don’t let barriers like COVID-19 or online learning prevent you from extending your knowledge into fields that challenge your own perceptions. I still cherish the moments when I would race out of my office and into the dining room, excitedly recounting the interesting points I learned during the online Colloquium to my family. I applaud the GLP for being so flexible with our learning and delivery of material, it’s definitely something to brag about.