[Blog #2] make it or break it

Type A Freshman - changed courses four times, got a job, organized a protest, quit the job, plans to take second semester abroad.To be a first year student… It can be a daunting time for us all however it is also an exciting time. Whether you are fresh out of school, finishing a gap year or a mature age student; every single university student has gone through a first year experience, whether that be good or bad.

Despite all first-years having a diverse background, through different social and academic skills, and not to mention different cultures and circumstances, the common denominator is that they all have come to learn at university. (Kift, 2015)

The QUT Experience


Ruth Bridgstock, a lecturer in the Creative Industries faculty at QUT has discussed the importance of having a good FYE (first year experience) throughout any faculty on campus. Bridgstock discusses many important facets surrounding FYE, which can be seen in the mind map above.

Throughout her discussion, she has scoped out both the challenges/negatives and positives that QUT has in place with particular emphasis on the Creative Industries faculty.


According to QUT statistics, it is clear that the attrition rate of both Bachelor of Creative Industries and Bachelor of Design has skyrocketed compared to the Ex-QUT Attrition. With that being said, a lack of engagement and community along with a lack of provision of student support and information the major leading causes to the high attrition rate. (Bridgstock, 2016)

thoughtsStarting out as a “first year” in 2015, it is apparent to see how the negatives can easily outweigh the positives in the creative design industry. Through lack of communication between tutors, lecturers and students along with large tutorial groups, it made the engagement on campus quite difficult. To not only have lack of communication between all parties, but to wrap my head around organising assessment, location of classes, transport, campus location and timing can be extremely overwhelming and confusing for a first year student. Being made aware of programs and services provided by CIF Student Support and CI Network Help Support,  would have helped encourage both the participation and adjustment I needed to have in first year university. (Bridgstock, 2016)


Bridgstock mentioned several services in place which allows students to help adjust and understand “Uni Life”. I found it astonishing that during my own experience in first year at university I was not fully aware of two of these programs that are created to help adapt to university. Although briefly introduced to the CIF Student Support, I did not fully understand the services they can provide for Creative Industry students. The CI Network Help Support was not known to me until introduced to the service through Bridgstock, which would have been quite effective in my first year studies. It is obvious that, although these programs would help adjust and assist first year students, they are not highly known and should be more intensively communicated to all courses within the Creative Industry faculty.

Opening my eyes to bigger and greater things…

Let’s talk DEB101 Design Camp… With it being listed as a positive with engagement and community within the university, I would have to agree wholeheartedly with this notion. Not only does the camp allow you to work and collaborate with all majors in the design faculty, but it also allows you to see what all the majors offer. Being a first year Interior Design student, I was not sure whether or not it was the right choice for me. However, through discussion with other students from other majors, it helped broaden my horizons on the learning paths I can go down. It was this camp that allowed me to understand what IVD was about and it helped shape where I was going in my second year with my studies. If it weren’t for this camp, I would have deferred University in second year as I was not sure of what other options were out there for me due to lack of communication through not being fully aware of the CI Network Help Support and CIF Student Support.

So what needs to be improved?

A First Year Experience is detrimental to success at university. (Duke University, 2015) Through the statistics shown by QUT, it is apparent there is a problem with participation in tutorials and lectures. From the perspective of having been a first year myself, I can see how easy it is to become overwhelmed due to the lack of information and communication in regards to both assessment and help which can be offered. I believe that through discussing this and implementing both CI Network Help Support and CIF Student Support not only at Orientation but through email, tutorials and lectures at the beginning of the semester, first year students would more easily be able to adapt into the regime the course requires to be successful.


Armano. (2015). Thought Bubbles. Retrieved fromhttp://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2007/02/

Bridgstock, R. (2016). First Year Experience [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-6273923-dt-content-rid-5846629_1/courses/DXB101_16se1/FYE%20lecture%201803.pdf

Duke University. (2015). Common First-Year Challenges | Duke Student Affairs. Retrieved from https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/parents/first-year-parents/common-first-year-challenges

First Year Cartoons and Comics – funny pictures from CartoonStock. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/f/first_year.asp

Jensen, H. (2016). Text 2 Mind Map – Simple mind mapping online. Retrieved fromhttps://www.text2mindmap.com/

Kift, L. (2015). Student success: why first year at uni is a make-or-break experience. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/student-success-why-first-year-at-uni-is-a-make-or-break-experience-21465



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