By choosing a degree with subjects she was passionate about, UOW Bega student Kayla Robbie has found her purpose. She is now on the path towards a primary school teaching career – proving you don’t need to know the exact career you want when you start university.
The road to university
During primary school, Kayla was diagnosed with a brain tumour and has had to work harder than most throughout high school to get to into university.
“It was 2008 when I was diagnosed. I had surgery and then I had radiation. I’ve been in remission for nine years. I’m just a little bit slower with some things and I lost some of my peripheral vision,” she says. “But my school – and the University – have been great with things like academic consideration and extra time in exams, which is really helpful.”
During Year 12 Kayla also completed UOW’s University Preparation Program, which included HSC study sessions with In2Uni Mentors, as well as trips to UOW campuses to experience a taste of UOW student life.
“The program helped us by teaching studying skills, how to plan essays – those types of things. Then through the program you get an interview for Early Admission,” she says. “After some practice interviews at the high school, my dad and I went up to Wollongong for the interview and I was lucky enough to get accepted.”
Creating her own path
Not sure of the career path she wanted to take at the end of Year 12, Kayla chose the Bachelor of Arts (Community Culture and Environment) because she felt it would provide the most flexibility in terms of choosing subjects that matched her interests.
“When I saw the subject list for Community, Culture and Environments, they all seemed interesting,” Kayla says. “I actually did change my major to English Literature for a while, but then I changed it back again. That’s definitely a positive about my degree, there’s a lot of flexibility.”
She is now in her final year with plans to go on and complete the Master of Teaching. This would give her the accreditation she needs to become a primary school teacher.
“The staff on campus have always been great. They help me choose subjects and plan my degree so I’m on the right path for the career I want,” she says. “I always wanted to do something that helps people and I like working with kids,” she says. “Teaching is a way that I can do both.”
Studying close to home
Being from Eden, Kayla stays with her grandparents in Bega during the week, returning home after classes have finished for the week. Having the support of her family is a real bonus, but it’s not the only support she has found when things aren’t going smoothly
“It’s the same for everyone, probably. Every semester has its good times and bad times. Sometimes you’re on a high, keeping up with readings and it’s all going well. Other times you feel like you have so much to do and you feel like you can’t do it all,” she says. “The great thing though is that it’s a really close-knit community at the Bega campus. You know everyone and it’s easy to make friends. It’s also really nice having small classes as well because you get more one-on-one time with the tutors.”
Even though she isn’t studying an education degree, Kayla has been able to get invaluable real-world experience as a teacher.
“This year we had a subject called Career Ready Learning & Practice. As part of that you do an internship or work placement,” she says. “I went to the Mumbulla School for Rudolf Steiner in Bega. That was great. I absolutely loved the experience and it just confirmed my thoughts about pursuing primary teaching as a career.”
Kayla is also developing her skills as a teacher by working as a UOW In2Uni mentor, giving high school students insight into what it’s like to go to University.
“That’s really helped too, because it’s gaining confidence and helping with teaching classes and working with kids,” she says. “I enjoy it and I see it as another experience to help with going into teaching.”
Home town is a series dedicated to telling the stories of students at regional UOW campuses.