Grace – studying Science/Arts

Photo of Grace

I’ve known I wanted to study at Sydney Uni since I was in junior high school. I fell in love with the campus the first time I saw it. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study – initially I thought about law but then decided on psychology. Read more about how I got to Sydney Uni.

I can talk to you about:

  • studying to be a psychologist
  • fencing and other sports at Sydney
  • living on campus.

Ask me a question

Q&A with Grace

What DVD would you take to a desert island?
There's a DVD player? Or electricity for that matter …? What else does the island have? If it's that well established should I bother taking a DVD?

Why did you choose to study your degree?
I choose the Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts degree because of the flexibility it gave me. I had a very strong interest in psychology but no experience to ensure that it was the right choice for me. The double degree allowed me to follow my interest alongside my strengths, which lay in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The combined degree has proven to be a great choice for me. I’ve been able to study whatever takes my fancy, from astronomy to philosophy.

If you could live overseas for a year where would it be and why?
France or Italy somewhere. I speak both languages a little (although I have forgotten most of my Italian) and both countries are great places to train for fencing. Going to France would be an amazing opportunity to improve my French.

What is the best thing about fencing as a sport?
I think the thing I love most is that it’s a real mind game and there’s an enormous amount of technique involved, at a very high speed, so there's always more to learn. The people are great too. The fencing community is really tight knit and there are lots of really interesting people involved.

Any tips for getting through the HSC?

1. K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid) is great advice, don’t over complicate *anything*. I learned this the hard way (probably more than once if I’m honest). In the humanities, clear, concise and succinct writing is a huge advantage.

The same applies to study timetables – I used to write up my study timetables to the quarter hour. They were probably really good timetables, but I wouldn’t know because I never stuck to them.

2. Work consistently. Few people do this, but most people work far better when they aren’t stressed about remembering it all for the test tomorrow. The earlier you start, the better.

3. By far the best piece of advice I can give is this: keep calm!!! It’s really easy to let nerves get to you the night before (especially if you haven’t followed the work consistently tip), but it’s really important to be able to overcome them.

A lot of people will tell you that some nerves are good and this is true to a point. Being a little nervous can help you become more productive, but the best thing you can do for yourself going into an exam or writing an essay is to sit back, take a deep breath and reassure yourself of your own competence before you start – “I can do this!”.

It sounds like such a silly little thing, but if you worry too much you can get yourself into a circular thought pattern, which will interfere with your efforts to study. If you suffer from anxiety, it may even be worth talking to your doctor or learning some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

My path to Sydney

I think what really confirmed it for me was a campus tour I went on in Year 11. The student ambassadors who took us around were so enthusiastic, and I knew that Sydney’s School of Psychology had a great reputation.

Living on campus has been an amazing experience. The colleges provide great opportunities to get involved in college sport and cultural activities like choir and debating. In my two years at college I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of Sancta’s Palladian choir and try five new sports, including rowing and basketball.

The assurance of academic support where I needed it and Sancta's dean of studies backing me up if I had any issues were a real comfort, especially in my first year when the university system was still new to me.

I’ve also had some amazing opportunities to get involved in sport since coming to uni. I represented the University at the Australian University Games (AUG) in 2010 and 2011, and hope to do so again in 2012.

In 2011 I was privileged to be the junior vice president of the fencing club and I even got to manage Sydney Uni’s AUG fencing team. These have been amazing opportunities and I’ve learned a lot by taking them on. I would encourage everyone to get involved in sport at uni. It’s a great way to stay in shape and the opportunities are fantastic.