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Five things I learned in my honours year

1 September 2016
Our graduates and current students share what they unearthed during their honours year

Whether it's a love for research or an unexpected career path, you're bound to discover new things about yourself during an honours year.

Student removing book from library bookshelf

1.  I actually like doing research

“If you asked me before if I would ever have considered a career in research, I probably would have said no way. Honours opened my eyes to what research actually was – for once I was doing a job that I actually enjoyed.” Mouhamed Reslan, pharmacy.

“For me, the challenge wasn’t necessarily in the activity or project I was undertaking; it was about finding the confidence to undertake it in the first place. For all students, I say follow every opportunity. You never know what you will achieve.” Senthorun Raj, arts and social sciences.

2.  I could make it my own

 “I most enjoy the fact that I’m able to take control of what I’m looking at, it enables you to use lateral thinking and be creative in determining the outcome for your own research proposal.” Minass Semerdjian, nursing.

“I think the best thing about honours is that it’s your project and you actively choose to pursue this area of research. You don’t actually feel like you’re doing work, you’re pursuing your passions.” Neeraj Hansji, health sciences.

3.  I can make a difference in my field

“I studied honours because I wanted to be a part of the research process and contribute to best practice in my field. My research is looking at medicine switching in multiple sclerosis, so it can have an impact on the disease progression of these patients.” Minass Semerdjian, nursing.

“I’m interested in paternity leave and parental leave because it’s a pertinent issue for our government to address – we lag behind every country except the US. I’m finding that employers generally find it acceptable for fathers to take a few weeks off following childbirth.” Leo Gordon, commerce.  

4.  Honours didn’t ruin my social life

“You develop great friendships with people in the labs. The social side of research is still one of my favourite parts of my job, which is unexpected as scientists are always portrayed as anti-social nerds but this couldn't be further from the truth.” Kate Quinlan, science.

5.  It led me in unexpected directions

“Because of honours I was given the opportunity to understand what occupational therapy was all about. That’s what inspired me to then pursue a degree and career in occupational therapy – I’m currently on placement.” Neeraj Hansi, health sciences.

“One of my proudest achievements to date was being awarded both the University Medal and the Australian Gay & Lesbian Archives Thesis Prize for my thesis. The combination of my voluntary and academic pursuits empowered me to apply for the job with the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, where I am in the extremely fortunate position of being paid to do what I love.” Senthorun Raj, arts and social sciences.

“My honours thesis into MySpace gave me a lot of new investigative skills. I’m now the social media coordinator at the ABC. I’m glad I was able to translate my academic interest in social media to a practical one.” Rhiannon Sawyer, media and communications.