What Indigenous student services are available on campus at UQ? Bachelor of Arts student Darby Jones walks us through the support he’s received, and how it’s shaped his university experience.
In 2020, I commenced my Bachelor of Arts at UQ as a mature-aged student. I had no idea what to expect and wondered whether I could handle the demands of tertiary education. On the 14th of December 2023, I will graduate from my Bachelor of Arts as the valedictorian. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support I received from the UQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit (ATSISU).
In this article, I list just a few of the ways that the wonderful team at the ATSISU provides support for Indigenous students.
Orientation for new students
Not long after I accepted my offer from UQ, I received my first email from the ATSISU. They began by welcoming me to UQ before inviting me to an online introduction session, where I met some other students who would be starting at the same time as me. The presentation included lots of useful information about what to expect from – and how to prepare for – the transition to university. One of the most valuable things I learned during this session was how to navigate Blackboard, where I would access all my course content and correspondence throughout my degree.
A couple of weeks after I started my degree, I met with the ATSISU’s Academic Support Service Coordinator, who spoke to me about my goals and aspirations before recommending majors, minors, and courses that she believed I would enjoy. Thanks to this support, I felt prepared for whatever my time at UQ would bring.
Keeping you in the know
Once a week, the ATSISU sends its students a newsletter directly to their inboxes. During my time at UQ, the ATSISU Weekly Bulletin has been an amazing way to keep up to date with things that are happening both on and off campus. It includes comprehensive lists of scholarships, internships, research, volunteering, and employment opportunities, as well as information about community events happening within the ATSISU. It was on the ATSISU Weekly Bulletin that I first discovered the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship – an Indigenous student bursary that I was incredibly fortunate to be the inaugural recipient of.
The first semester of your degree can be a challenging time – especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve studied. Forming study habits, learning to write academically, and managing the workload are all things that a new student may grapple with during their transition to university. Luckily, the ATSISU’s Indigenous Tutorial Assistance and Retention (ITAR) program is there to ease this transition and support Indigenous students throughout their academic pursuits. Through the ITAR program, qualified tutors can offer you supplementary academic tutoring, as well as valuable guidance around assignment and exam preparation, to help you succeed.
These are just a few of the ways that the ATSISU is supporting Indigenous communities at UQ. If you are thinking about applying to UQ, or if you are a current student who is yet to visit, reach out to them today. There are so many wonderful people there who want to see you succeed.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the ATSISU; when I deliver my valedictorian address in December, I know that it will be largely owing to their unwavering support.