As four Merit Scholars (Alexander Roussos, Eryn Chapman, Legrand Buan and Leonie Nahhas) reflected on their learning experience at Macquarie University, one common aspect emerged. In a nutshell, participation was central to all of their learning experiences.
Here are some ideas that the students shared on ways to participate and get the most out of a learning experience at Macquarie.
Get involved in PAL
All of the scholars talked about the importance of peer-mentoring relationships and many of these were formed through the Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) sessions.
Join student groups
To foster a sense of belonging you don’t only have to rely on peer-learning environments such as PAL. The Merit Scholars discussed their involvement with various Macquarie student groups as well as the informal study groups they had initiated.
Participate in class and online discussions
Simple things were also crucial to their learning experiences, such as in class and online discussions moderated by convenors and tutors: “Tutorials with conversation are where I have learnt the most. I have noticed when there is a participation mark there is more conversation”.
Apply for everything
This was the advice from one Merit Scholar who was awarded a scholarship to study overseas. The chance to incorporate real-world learning into their degrees was considered invaluable. The opportunity to apply and present research at conferences such as the annual Australasia Conference of Undergraduate Research was also considered to be a valuable learning experience.
Talk with academics
“Establish connections with academics” was the advice from one Merit Scholar, who used to be too afraid to talk with his convenors and tutors. He now has a long standing mentoring relationship with one academic.
The overall message from this panel discussion was: Get motivated, Get involved – it will increase your learning experience!