How extra-circular activities set Azrun’s path to post- grad success
Hello, my name is Azrun Paulson, and I am a proud Worimi woman, with family ties to Gamilaroi mob, and currently lives on Dharawal Country. I am studying my final year of a Bachelor of Social Science (Dean Scholar), with a major in Sociology and a minor in Social Policy. Over the course of my degree I have participated in multiple extra-curricular activities through UOW which have assisted me in achieving my goals. As I have become more involved with UOW’s ‘social’ life and taking the opportunities that come my way, I have started to become more confident in who I am and where I can go from here.
My extra-curricular activities started in my first year of study (2018) by becoming an AIME mentor, where I later become a Squad Leader at local high schools. This opportunity was one I stumbled across by mistake, but it gave me the chance to work alongside our young people in a positive environment through tutoring and mentoring. This position allowed me to find passion with working with young people which opened multiple other opportunities for me. While still volunteering at AIME, I became an In2Uni Mentor within the Pathways & Outreach team within UOW and starting heading to schools to give presentations and workshops to high school students regarding higher education, and pathways after school. Although this is a paid position, it has become recognised through my UOWx record and will be included on my transcript. This role has strengthened my communication skills and public speaking.
As I progressed through my degree, I was also involved in WIC’s Mentoring Program where I was paired with two academics who provided me with guidance and support as I carved a pathway forward for myself. This program gave me a wide support network, some of which have become close friends, and gave me contacts within academia. This experience inspired me further to become a mentor for first year students who were entering university and came to WIC, so they could start their journey stronger than I had.
I became a mentor in WIC’s Indigenous Guided Peer Support (GPS) program and worked alongside first year students to get them settled into university and study. Following this I became a WIC student Ambassador to help instil confidence in students about their identity and how they can embrace their culture. These roles have not only helped me immerse myself in multiple Illawarra communities, but have strengthened my identity and belief in my abilities.
Finally, throughout my degree, I have been involved with multiple Dean Scholar Initiative Projects where I have had the opportunity to work under and alongside research academics and PhD students within Early Start at UOW. These projects have developed my skills and given me the opportunity to learn things I would not normally get a chance to see, such as coding programs. My degree has also given me the opportunity to become a mentor within the Dean Scholar program, to support first year students entering university so they have a familiar name and face as our studies transitioned into an online space. Although I have not had the most experience in all offered extra-curriculars, I have had an excellent time at UOW and have had the chance to network and upskill.