Bachelor of Arts (Environmental Policy and Management)
I am a student at the University of Adelaide and at 20 years old I work as a Government Trainee in the SA Parliament’s Legislative Council. I have worked in this field for almost a year now and have enjoyed the experience of practical politics as opposed to theory. At university you get to learn about political theories, whereas working in this field has allowed me to pick up on a broad range of political strategies. For example, how does a bill become an act? How does an act become legislation? How do we ask questions to the Government and how do we judge whether they give a good enough answer? The theory helps because you know where you stand in terms of the political spectrum, but it is important that you can apply theoretical knowledge to your day to day job. I get to do that every day through applying what I’ve learnt in practical and tangible ways.
One of the things that I have found helpful at university is to join organisations and campus groups. I have been involved with the Young Greens for three years now and have picked up on skills throughout my involvement. The Young Greens on Campus are an enthusiastic bunch of young people who raise awareness of environmental issues such as climate change and social justice issues like industrial relations and animal welfare.
I have always been passionate about engaging students and the general public in the political process by reaching out to individuals not typically involved in politics and making them feel included and valued. I believe this is important to achieving sustainable change and progression within society.
University is not just about lectures and tutorials and trying to study and cram for your exams, it is about making the most of your journey for the years that you are here and the way to do that is through joining groups and meeting and learning from a wide range of people who have different life experiences.
South Australia provides many opportunities for young people. Networking in South Australia works well and you can do that by joining groups and talking to your lecturers and seeing if you can gain practical experience within your field. I did both; I spoke to my lecturers about where I could gain practical experience and joined a group that could advance the skills that I needed for my career path. It’s a triangle; you need to have the degree, you need to have the experience, you need to have networking and you have to know how to apply all of that at the same time. The most important thing to me was to figure out what I was passionate about. I think to achieve a green sustainable world you need to turn the minds of those in our Parliaments to these significant issues. My best advice is to get out there – don’t just think of university as lectures, exams and essays. It is much more than that. It is the experience that counts and making sure your career path has been catered to your passion and enthusiasm.