Finishing my health, sport and physical education degree – the feelings are bittersweet

As I walked through the purple carpet of jacaranda flowers for the final time, I found myself awash with feelings of sadness and excitement. Sadness about saying goodbye to all of the wonderful opportunities, memories, and people that made my time at university so enjoyable. Equally, filled with eagerness and excitement to dive into the next chapter of my life, where I can make a difference pursuing a career I love, and put my ‘toolkit’ of knowledge into practice.

My looming graduation doesn’t necessarily mean I automatically leave everything behind though. In fact, it’s provided me with the perfect chance to reflect on the amazing opportunities and my achievements over the past four years.

When I signed up for the Bachelor of Health Sport and Physical Education (Honours) degree, I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and straight out of high school. I also never took very much notice of the flyers or study guides pointing out the vast number of hours of practical experience included as part of the course. As I progressed through my second and third years, I was extremely thankful for this opportunity as I couldn’t imagine anything more beneficial to my development as a future educator.

If you remember what it was like learning to swim, then this is similar to the progression of practical experiences during the degree. In second year, we started off in the paddling pool where we could still touch the bottom, during third year we dipped our toes in the big kid’s pool while supported by floaties (aka supervisors), before finally we got to where we’re at now - ready to swim laps in the Olympic pool.

Beach volleyball competition where we implemented the sport education pedagogy model.

 My final 12-week full-time prac has filled me with confidence and skills to take on the professional world. While at times it all seemed a little daunting, and often incredibly challenging, experiencing the profession with the help and expertise of experienced teachers was unbelievably helpful. When the day comes that I don my funky graduation hat and gown, and receive my graduation certificate, I look forward to diving straight into the metaphorical swimming pool of the teaching world.

While some experiences of university were expected, others were a pleasant surprise. During my time at UQ I have also worked as a student representative on academic boards and faculties, shared my experiences with school-leavers at UQ Open Day, been part of co-constructing and negotiating course assessment which involved presenting at a national conference, and the moments of personal and professional development have been endless.

As a direct result of my development during this degree and thinking about where I wanted to be in the future, I decided (during my second year) to challenge myself to an international placement and  live in a small village in Tanzania for a few months. Here, I worked within a local school putting my knowledge of health and teaching into practice. I also assisted with an after school sports program and founded a women’s group to help combat a wide range of social and health issues by providing education on women’s rights, English and business skills.

Sports day at Engilange't primary school in Arusha, Tanzania.

During the mid-year break in my final year I was fortunate enough to embark on my first ever trip to Japan where a few colleagues and I immersed ourselves in The Collaborative Research Program as part of the 2016 Tsukuba Summer Institute. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to advance my interest in research and develop international networks through collaboration with teams from all over the world. Although working closely with leading academics in the fields of physical education was initially quite daunting, the close guidance was undeniably on of the most valuable and interesting parts of the trip, and potentially my degree.

As my graduation is just around the corner, I am told with increasing frequency that, ‘the world is my oyster’. And I am wholeheartedly embracing the phrase with exciting plans set in place for 2017, with a relocation to Roma to take on the position of science coordinator at one of the schools in the district. While I am sad that my time at university has come to an end (for now anyway), I am confident in my knowledge from the degree and the invaluable experiences I engaged with over the four years. I now have the qualification, ability, and skills to do what I love.


Last updated:
13 December 2016