Like Yr 12s, Swinburne graduates Tanya, Drew and Sarah were all stripped of their Class of 2020 rites of passage “because of COVID”. And it wasn’t just the joyous tossing of mortarboards in the air they missed out on. 

Drew had to cut short a 19-month scholarship by 18-and-a-half months -- and endure an eerily deserted, and devastating, plane ride home from Korea. Tanya’s hotly-anticipated graduate exhibition will be happening online. And Sarah has to start her dream job from her bedroom instead of the sleek Silicon-Valley-cum-Southbank workspace.

But they’ve emerged stronger and wiser for it. They’re cashing in on missing out. So, who better to ask everything you ever wanted to know about uni (and why, thanks to COVID, you’re a force to be reckoned with). 

You asked anonymously. They answered honestly. From Brighton to Bright, these were the questions on everyone’s lips. 

First up, meet your mentors

Tanya, Drew and Sarah are dishing up all the good advice in these COVIDeo calls.

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Does surviving the crappiest year mean some good stuff is headed my way? 

Yes, there are (some) perks to completing your final year in a pandemic. 

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The Class of 2020 stockpiled more than loo paper - you’ve got reserves of resilience and a ton of tenacity. Not to mention you’ve been on the frontline of the remote work revolution. You’re all set to slay, no matter what card you play.

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Go with the university offering you real industry experience. Call us on +61 1300 794 628 (select keypad option 2 or 3) or email us below.

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What’s the biggest difference between Yr 12 and uni? 

This time, you’re in the driver’s seat. 

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You get to choose. Who you see every day. How and when you learn. Where you’re going. The pressure of other people’s expectations comes off and you get to do something you really want to. It’s liberating. Way more liberating than all that pants-free time you’ve been enjoying in iso.

What’s the biggest risk you took at uni?

No risk, no reward.
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It pays to put yourself out there. Whether it’s the simple act of saying ‘hi’ to the person sitting next to you (only for them to become your bestie). Applying for that scholarship you think you’ve got no chance of getting (and then getting it). Or following your instincts instead of your friends when it comes to study abroad and exchange opportunities (and walking straight into the offices of Google and Facebook).  

I’m drunk on choice. How do I decide?

You might not know if you’ve picked the right course until you’re knee deep in it. And that’s ok. 
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Think about what you love to do. And the homework you did when you were procrastinating. These are big clues. After you’ve covered off the ‘what’, you’ll want to think about the ‘where’. Uni is your chance to break free from the shackles of the school system and its cliques. So find a uni where you can be you. 

Swinburne’s (not so best) kept secret?

Tips to keep your mind, wallet and tastebuds satisfied. 
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For hungry minds and bellies, the food and coffee scene in Hawthorn is often first to mind. But, Swinburne fills up more than just your not-so-metaphorical cup. Tanya, Drew and Sarah found their munchies, their people and “friggin great” teachers. Plus, some generous scholarships to make uni-life less of a stress. Drew accessed close to $100k in scholarships and grants. Sarah’s scholarship allowed her to swap regional Victoria for Melbourne. 

Final words of wisdom from one graduating class who’ve been through hell, to another 

The Class of 2020 will own the world. 
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Congrats. Not only have you made it through Year 12 and survived a global pandemic, you’ve made it through Year 12 while surviving a global pandemic. And while you might feel, rightly, a little short-changed, you should also be feeling pretty proud of yourself. Why? Because if you can make it through this year, you’ve proven you’re capable of anything you damn well please – apart from chartering an inflatable doughnut across the Pacific. Don’t go trying it just because you’re all brimming with bravado. Maybe try eating another celebratory doughnut instead.

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