Mitch Strange is a Kuku Yalanji man and one of WIC’s 2020 graduates.
Following on from a cadetship with Transport NSW, Mitch enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), where he went on to achieve First Class honours, and featured twice on the Dean’s Merit List.
However, Mitch wasn’t always a model student from the beginning of his studies.
“Definitely at the start of my degree, it was very hard for me to find the rhythm and the routine of studying and being independent. You know, the training wheels were taken off, and I wasn’t very responsible. The good old release of results snapped that out of me pretty quickly and I sort of realised I needed to put my head down and focus a bit,” Mitch said.
After that early wake-up call, Mitch not only improved his academic results but also made the decision to take on extra responsibility in roles both in and out of WIC.
“In 2019 I moved to Wollongong into student accommodation where I decided to become a student leader. I’d try to organise events for other students, was responsible for the building at night, being on call for the students in the building.”
“I was also a tutor for ITAP and I really loved doing it. I’d be more than happy to keep doing it now, but I don’t live in the same state anymore so it’d be a little bit hard.”
Mitch’s interstate move is due to his newfound graduate position as an electrical engineer at BHP. He now lives in Western Australia, currently splitting his time between Perth and Port Hedland.
“I applied for [the job] at the start of last year, and it turned into a yearlong process because of Covid. I actually forgot that I applied and then all of a sudden in September they’re like ‘Can you come do some more interviews?’”
“I sort of wanted to change up where I lived, you know? I don’t want to be stuck in Sydney or even NSW all my life.”
Despite graduating and moving into the workforce, his academic aspirations are not over, and he credits a WIC mentoring program with inspiring him to one day pursue postgraduate studies.
“I was getting mentored at WIC when I was looking to do further study. It really helped me start to consider doing a PhD in engineering, which I do want to go and do, but I was at uni for six years, so I’m taking a bit of a break before getting back into it.”
Mitch’s words of advice to students are about keeping them aware of the support networks out there available to them.
“Don’t be disheartened by how hard it can be at times because there’s definitely support out there. WIC will provide you with support if you need it, so make sure to use it when you can.”