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The lesser-known reasons uni can enrich your life

On the surface, uni might seem like a simple means to an end: go, get a degree, graduate. However, what UOW grad Stef Posthuma discovered – like most students – is that uni can enrich your life in so many ways. For Stef, the connections and friendships he made while studying at UOW set him up for the life and success he has now.


UOW Communications and Media graduate Stef Posthuma is a publisher, freelance photographer, writer, podcaster and business owner at Quicksand Food. In whatever spare time he has, he uses his skills and expertise to jump aboard many projects he feels passionate about. For instance, in the first half of the year Stef managed the build of Food Fairness Illawarra’s new website, and more recently he’s been heading up the marketing for an environmental conservation campaign nearby.

So, it wouldn’t be strange to ask him, “How do you get around to doing all these cool things?”, to which he’d answer, “I’ve just got a really good network.”

 

“Everything I have now grew from starting uni in Wollongong.”

 

 

Stef grew up in Canberra and moved to Wollongong for uni. He lived in campus accommodation and says it was one of the best decisions he ever made. “I really enjoyed the independence I had once I reached uni and the ability to decide my future. Living in a new city, next to the beach, with an amazing social group was great.”

On the topic of choosing what to study, Stef says, “I wasn’t sure what I wanted in a career, but I knew I loved learning and telling stories, so I thought communications was a good starting point.”

When he gets asked what he loved most about going to uni in Wollongong, he’s quick to say, “surfing between classes”, before talking about the long-term benefits: “I’ve built a really diverse and interesting community of friends, colleagues and peers in Wollongong. I still live here, 15 years after finishing uni.”

Stef admits that the connections he made at uni have not only been fantastic friendships, but have also been super beneficial for his career and life in general. His accountant friends are his financial advisers, his lawyer friends offer their opinions when he needs them and, of course, he’s able to do the same.

Fifteen years later, let’s meet some of the gang, who still hang out to this day.

 

Portrait of Jeff Masters

JEFF ‘JEFFIE’ MASTERS 

Doctor
St Vincent’s Hospital
Sydney

What did you study? 

I was a member of the first class in the Graduate School of Medicine at Wollongong. I’ve always liked science and biology. I wanted to do something exciting and work with people.

What did you love about your uni days?

I was an exchange student from the US, so I loved having all my friends live in this concentrated city. It felt like I knew everyone wherever I went. I think UOW has a good community feel, offers a great education and introduced me to great people that are still in my life 15 years later. 

 

Portrait of Tim Frater

TIM ‘FRATES’ FRATER

Senior Associate
Lough & Wells Lawyers
Wollongong

What did you study?

I studied economics and law because I really enjoyed economics in Year 12. I added law because I wanted to broaden my options and thought that it would be interesting.

What did you love about your uni days?

Definitely the people that I met along the way. Living on campus for a couple of years made it really easy to meet and have fun with a variety of people. UOW was a good choice too, with well-respected degrees, a great location and a huge range of things to do within 5 or 50 minutes.

 

Portrait of Emily Dyball

EMILY ‘DYBES’ DYBALL

Political Adviser
Chief of Staff Office of Justin Field MLC
NSW Parliament, Sydney

What did you study? 

I studied a Bachelor of Law – Bachelor of Arts. I wanted to work to protect the environment and, since I was terrible at science, I thought law provided a variety of pathways to do this.

What did you love about your uni days?

I liked the spirit of the place and the friendships I made. UOW is so relaxed, open and unpretentious, which comes from being located in a small city on the beach. It’s a great place to get an education, make quality lifelong friends and enjoy life during your studies.

 

Portrait of Andrew Stockwell

ANDREW ‘GANG’ STOCKWELL

Quantity Surveyor
Kier
London

What did you study? 

I studied civil engineering because my essay writing skills were lacking, but my mathematics, physics and logic skills were promising.

What did you love about your uni days?

UOW has it all: beach life; high standard of education and facilities; beautiful campus; so many fun, interesting people to meet and befriend for life; fun nightlife... shall I go on? 

 

Portrait of Alison Seidel

ALISON ‘AL’ SEIDEL

Lawyer
Friedlieb Fox McLeod
Wagga Wagga

What did you study? 

I studied a Bachelor of Arts – Bachelor of Law. I chose the degree as it offered the opportunity to study a diverse range of subjects. Obtaining a broad skillset also meant flexible work opportunities, which was appealing.

What did you love about your uni days?

Being able to go for an ocean dip in the morning, attend a tutorial at lunch, hike up a mountain in the afternoon, and go out and see live music at night! Feeling part of a tight-knit community within the University, and also campus accommodation, made for such a great experience that I think is unique to UOW. 

 

Portrait of Rhys Harding

RHYS HARDING

Doctor
Davis Station
Antarctica

What did you study?

I studied a Bachelor of Science and then went on to do Medicine at UOW, mostly so that I could travel the world and do interesting things.

What did you love about your uni days?

Living on campus, playing sport, enjoying my 20s and meeting some wonderful people, who made inspirational changes to the direction of my life. UOW opened up an exceptional number of doors for me, in all realms, and gave me the opportunity to see the wonderful world of remote medicine. I have never looked back. 

 

Portrait of Isabella Street

ISABELLA ‘BELLS’ STREET

Lawyer/Solicitor
Sony Music Entertainment
Sydney

What did you study?

I studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts - Bachelor of Laws, although my love for creative pursuits didn't quite translate into practice. Sadly, I dropped creative arts and kept up law, because it was broad enough to give me options. 

What did you love most about your uni days?

Living on campus: the people, the party, the culture, the mischief, the music, the ruckus. UOW has it all. It’s a fun uni town on the coast, with a laid-back surf culture that attracts all sorts of people who make it the special place that it is (and the UniBar gets some decent gigs).

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