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Economics student

What I love about my economics degree (that wasn’t in the curriculum)

Uni life
Published 15 Sep, 2023  ·  4-minute read

Kate Green, a UQ Bachelor of Economics / Bachelor of Arts alum, explains how studying economics can expand your horizons and unlock unique opportunities far beyond the curriculum.

As I think back on my time studying a Bachelor of Economics at UQ, I’ve begun to reflect on the opportunities presented to me at each stage of my program. So many experiences were available outside of class as an economics student, and I’m so glad I made the most of them.

Here are 4 added bonuses I enjoyed while studying economics at UQ.

1. I flexed my competitive spirit

One of the biggest surprises for me was the range of competitions and projects available as an economics student at UQ. Whether run by the university or a society, these competitions fuelled my drive to succeed while allowing me to build friendships and develop new skills along the way. For example:

There are so many ways to challenge yourself in economics outside of the curriculum; you just have to be brave enough to give it a go.

2. I enhanced my employability and career prospects

What sets UQ apart, in my opinion, is a focus on ensuring students have the best chance of success in their chosen career.

Two students talk to a UQ staff member under a sign that says 'BEL student employability team'

I was no stranger to the advisors at BEL Careers and Employability, but it definitely doesn’t end there. The numerous workshops I attended helped me in so many aspects of career chasing – from building my CV to interview practice and networking with professionals in economics.

The Student Work Experience Program is an unmissable opportunity to get necessary and honest feedback on your performance in the recruiting process and can lead to valuable work experience. For many, this is the crucial first step of becoming an employable and confident graduate.

Of course, I have to mention student societies for providing us with opportunities to network and socialise with professionals and peers.

This is far from a complete list, and I would be truly impressed if an economics student managed to participate in every employability-enhancing program UQ has to offer.

3. I developed skills to engage with social issues

Although I’ve always been a passionate environmentalist and human rights activist, studying economics deepened my insight into the fundamental causes of many of the world’s social and political issues.

For example, although the high percentage of people in Australia currently underinsured is not a problem I would have personally considered, researching this issue for an assignment helped me recognise the depth of the problem. Better yet, I was introduced to a range of solutions that are either being used today or exist hypothetically.

Scratching the surface of so many issues in my studies has inspired me to learn more about them and even get involved in working towards a solution through volunteering, raising awareness and being involved in community projects.

4. I connected with a diverse group of people

Growing up in a small town in rural Queensland and attending the local public school meant I only ever knew those of similar backgrounds – whether it be socio-economic, nationality or ideology. Although this made it easy to relate to my peers, I was never really exposed to the diversity of opinion and experiences I needed to challenge my own.

Aerial view of three students studying economics together on a bench, with leafy green palms in the background

I think it’s fair to say moving to Brisbane and entering a program with people of all ages, nationalities and political beliefs was initially intimidating. Now, it’s one of the things I loved most about studying economics at UQ.

Being exposed to a range of perspectives and people helps me challenge my own beliefs and consider ideas I never would have thought of myself, particularly within economics. Many international students have lived under vastly different economic systems, and it has been invaluable to hear personal stories about the positives and negatives of these systems from people who have lived them.

“My degree has felt like my own gateway to the world and its countless experiences.”

While I am passionate and excited about continuing to progress my career, I do sometimes miss being an economics student. Far beyond the curriculum, I had so many valuable opportunities to learn, build relationships and transition into the professional sphere – and by studying economics, you will too.

If you’ve got ambitions to change the world but you’re not sure if studying economics will help you do so, gain more insights from Kate by reading her article Why study economics? 3 ways you can make a difference.

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