Why Meet-Up is your key to study success
Meet Leigh, Ben, Gina and Cassandra, who are a part of the Meet-Up program at USQ. Leigh is the peer learning coordinator, overseeing the Meet-Up program and working with peer leaders to support student learning experiences across the university. Ben, a Meet-Up leader in finance and statistics courses, is completing his final semester in a Bachelor of Business and Commerce. Gina, now also in her final semester in the Bachelor of Business and Commerce program, began her studies in the Tertiary Preparation Program. She is a Meet-Up leader in the area of tertiary preparation communication and study management. Cassandra, the Murri Meet-Up leader at Ipswich and Springfield campuses, supports and encourages the progress of other Indigenous students. She, too, will graduate at the end of this semester.
Ever feel like you’re in a bit of a study slouch? As a student, that ‘what the heck is going on here’ feeling is almost inevitable. Well, have no fear, Meet-Up is here!
The Meet-Up peer-assisted learning program is designed to offer support and advice – for students, from students – about anything uni-related; from finding study resources to learning about useful study and exam strategies. Meet-Up leaders are current students here at USQ with expertise in their area of study. From sharing their experience of university to offering advice and study hints, they’re here to help!
Peer learning coordinator, Leigh Pickstone, believes the influence of peer support can be extremely encouraging and empowering for students.
For me, the inspiration I take from students, Meet-Up leaders, and staff in their quest to improve the learning experience and outcomes for themselves and others, is invaluable.
You may be wondering, ‘Who are these study superheroes?’ Let us introduce Ben, Cassandra, and Gina, some of the student leaders involved in Meet-Up. Now, what better way than a Q&A to find out who these guys are, and how they’re involved in Meet-Up! Let’s get started …
Why did you decide to study at university level, and what has it meant?
Ben: That is an easy one, the alternative was bleak in my eyes. I have tried a catalogue of jobs, in numerous industries. There was nothing wrong with those jobs, they just didn’t challenge me. I always had an active interest in economics, so I thought, maybe I should give that a go, too.
Almost three years later I am excelling in my discipline, I am challenged daily, I enjoy studies and I get more time with my children than most parents. It also helped me find my niche, and I can keep pursuing new goals and see how far I can take myself.
Gina: To put it bluntly, my children are the main reason I decided to study at university. I wanted to further my education, be a positive role model for my children and have more employment opportunities than what was currently available to me.
I feel I have been rewarded with a sense of pride and achievement. I have become more confident in what I am capable of and have also had many opportunities offered to me by USQ.
Cassandra: As a strong, independent, Indigenous woman, I decided to educate myself for amazing career opportunities. Study also gives me a greater sense of purpose and achievement as an ‘Indigenous woman’, and as a single parent.
Before I started studying I was working in a building where there were no Indigenous employees in higher-paid management and professional positions, and I decided that had to change.
What do you do as a Meet-Up leader?
Ben: The core role is to compile weekly worksheets and facilitate fun and casual ‘Meet-Up’ sessions online and on-campus that will help reinforce the materials lecturers and tutors provide and teach. Being an experienced student, you get to learn the ‘types’ of questions usually given in assessments, and efficient ways to study, revise, and approach the coursework. I also often give general advice, guidance or suggestions, and directions. Lending an ear when someone wants to vent, unload or chat is not unusual either.
Gina: Meet-Up is a peer-to-peer learning program where I, as a student, get to help other students in a subject that I have already completed. I give the students a different perspective that they may comprehend easier compared to the lecturers. Each week discussions take place and I give advice on the current week’s learning, as well as how to approach assignments.
Cassandra: As a Meet-Up leader, I support and guide my fellow peers through academic and student life issues for a greater study outcome. It gives me great joy knowing I help make a student’s life or study easier for them, potentially giving them greater study outcomes.
What has been your best experience as a Meet-Up leader?
Ben: The best experience as a Meet-Up leader is that light-bulb moment in someone’s eyes as they go from complete bewilderment to, ‘Aah, that makes perfect sense’. Meeting so many people with backgrounds as diverse as my own, making a tonne of friends, being a part of their journey and keeping up to date with how everything is going and helping where I can, is worth its weight in gold. It’s a great feeling seeing people succeed, and a whole lot of fun.
Gina: My best experience as Meet-Up leader would be every semester I meet new students and watch them successfully complete the same courses I did a few years ago. Every student, including myself, has their own unique story to tell and why they have embarked on their study journey, and although I love that I have played a small part in their learning journey, I have also learned something from each student.
Cassandra: I have two greatest experiences to share: one is being able to help and guide other students through some difficult moments of study. The other is promoting and sharing my role/experiences with the Indigenous culture and people of USQ.
I hope the initiation, and promotion of peer support with the Indigenous USQ members will be utilised to its fullest potential, and lead to great success for future fellow Indigenous students.
What advice do you have for current USQ students?
Ben: Enjoy the time here. Don’t treat it as a means to an end or having to ‘study’, put your hand up for everything you can, the experience is worth it. It isn’t easy, but it’s not supposed to be. Just don’t quit – you don’t have to quit – and remember it will probably never be cheaper or easier to do than today.
Gina: Talk to your lecturers and Meet-Up leaders (if Meet-Up is available in the course you are studying). Ask questions! Whether it be to clarify something said in a lecture, or even ask about an assignment question. You then get your face in their mind. This will give them a greater chance of learning and remembering your name and it also shows that you are willing to learn, dedicated, and serious about their course.
Cassandra: Take advantage of all USQ services and tips for greater study outcomes. It may be overwhelming how much there is, but it all helps and makes university life that bit easier to manage.
If you’re needing a hand with your studies and looking to learn from someone with experience why not take part in a free study group. Perhaps you may be wanting to share your study skills and help other students with their learning? Find out how you can become a Meet-Up student leader here.