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Student for a Semester | Studying high school and university at the same time

Written by Student for a Semester participant and Year 12 student at Silkwood School, Jaymee-Lee Keable.

I was never someone that was serious about university – the thought of finishing high school, then going straight back into studies to get a degree, for something that you might not even use (but don’t worry, it looks good on your resumé), just completely boggled me. But it wasn’t until Year 11 of hel- I mean high school, that I realised that I should start to get serious about what I want to do and where I want to go.

My name is Jaymee-Lee, and I’m here to tell you about my amazing experience at Bond University through their ‘Student for a Semester’ program.

Jaymee-Lee Keable

I have always been interested in the film industry – not just as an Actor and Director – but the work behind the scenes. I didn’t know of many universities that would teach me the skills I need for the real world, well… none I knew of that wouldn’t cripple me financially at least  I had looked into the ‘standard’ film industry universities, NYFA, BUFTA, etc. but some people that I spoke to that had attended those universities said that it was too much for too little in return.

GREAT. That’s helpful.

So, I stopped thinking about university for a while, and focused on my school work and getting good grades. That was until Boyd Shacklock from Bond University came to my school and presented to us a program that Bond offers, called: ‘Student for a Semester’.

The ‘Student for a Semester’ program was an amazing opportunity for high school students that were interested in exploring a university pathway, but haven’t made a set decision yet. This program would allow you to apply from a select set of courses at Bond University, and if accepted, you would pay a small fee to attend a semester of that course at the campus. You get all the privileges of a full-time student, a certificate of completion, a feel for what university life is like, make contacts and network, and (the best part) – the points you get from doing that course during your trial are kept record of - so if you choose to attend Bond and do that full course full-time, you wont have to do that semester's work again! Which was basically the selling point for me (plus I heard the cafes and restaurants on campus were top tier… so I was sold).

The application process was the same as applying for a full-time course for university, so I wont bore you with it, but long-story-short, I got accepted!

In September, I started my trial semester! I was extremely nervous about how different it might be. I must have watched 20 YouTube videos on how to take proper University level notes.

Quick Pro Tip: When taking notes of a lecture or tutorial, or just taking notes on general, make sure you can read your handwriting! And for your own sanity, use different colours and highlighters to indicate what note means what, or how important it is for you to remember that note! It’ll save you a lot of headaches. You can thank me later.

Anyway, I did a semester in the ‘Screenwriting for Film and TV’ subject. And it. Was. Awesome. Not only was the workload super manageable and easy for a creative, like yours truly – but the people in my lectures and tutorials were super friendly, and all supported each other. The lecture sizes at Bond University are super small, I think there was only 17 or so students in my class. Which was super cool, and no where near as intimidating as I thought.

Obviously the workload for me and the other trial students, was much lower compared that of a full-time uni student, but we still had to balance out our school work with uni work.

During my time at the campus I would ask as many questions I could, from both faculty and students. I wanted to know all the pros and cons of going to university – and asking the right questions to the right people can seriously help contribute to your decision, especially one as big as deciding to whether to go to university or not.

The experiences that semester taught me were super beneficial! For example, in most high schools you are reminded constantly when there is a deadline or an essay due – but in Uni, it is a way more independent self managing environment. You have to check your emails and the student portal almost daily and keep track of your deadlines. Luckily for me, I come from a high school that promotes that kind of work ethic of being self managing and independent, so I was super comfortable to this kind of work environment.

The best part of this whole experience was getting a taste of what University is like, especially if you aren’t sure if you want to go to university – like me. Let me just say that Bond definitely sets the bar high for awesomeness and sense of community. I think that this program is one of the smartest and coolest opportunities for High School students still trying to figure their future out. I would recommend this ‘Student for a Semester’ program to anyone in High School, that are even slightly interested in going to university, even if it isn’t Bond. This is still an amazing insight into a university lifestyle. I highly recommend.

Before I finish, I just wanted to do a quick thank you to some people.

Boyd Shacklock and Kristy Crockett, for helping out all of the Semester Trial students including me; answering all our questions and making sure we were on top of everything! Marc Rosenberg – my course lecturer, he was super helpful and taught us so many things about the Film Industry as well as giving us the correct tools for writing a proper screenplay. And of course, to every one of the students I met on campus who answered my many, many questions about student life.

Thank you to everyone I met, and all the other Semester Trial Students that kicked butt at their courses!

Be a Student for a Semester

Bond University’s Student for a Semester program gives high achieving year 11 and 12 students the opportunity to gain an authentic university experience before they finish high school.

Learn more

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