Moving from Jakarta to Melbourne for tertiary study is a big step, but Zahraalifa Zahirman has taken it in her stride thanks to the five years she spent at ACG School Jakarta.
Now a year into her psychology degree at Monash University, Zahra believes she arrived at the Victorian campus better prepared than many of her fellow students.
“The International Baccalaureate and Cambridge curricula at ACG Jakarta gave me a head start into writing essays and reports for university. I realised that many people didn’t know how to write essays, but because I was already used to writing, it was easy for me to find the correct resources and use them properly in my papers,” says Zahra.
“Being exposed to the university workshops ACG promotes also helped me better prepare for getting into a good university. Plus, taking the career test in Year 10 and talking with the university counsellor was pivotal – otherwise, I would have probably studied something other than psychology.”
But ACG School Jakarta equipped Zahra with more than just academic prowess and an exciting career pathway.
“Being able to go to a school where I was surrounded by people from different backgrounds and perspectives has helped me develop a more open-minded approach to learning and problem-solving skills. These abilities have not only helped me adapt to university life, but will also be very important for my future.”
Now Zahra is forging a career she is passionate about, at a tertiary institution she loves.
“I’m very grateful that I am able to attend a university that allows me to express myself and provide me with many opportunities to support my future career.”
And she’s making the most of it both inside and outside the lecture hall.
“The beauty of university is that you meet people from different age groups and walks of life. Finding connections is very important as it will help you in the future. Currently, I’m part of the Monash Student Association, helping the new students adjust to university in 2021. I am also an Ask Me Ambassador, which allows Monash students from all years of study to communicate with one another and ask questions.
“With lockdown being over, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to participate in more volunteering and leadership opportunities, and am also planning on being the moderator for Ask Me, which is a social media platform designed to help new students.”
With her first year of university already behind her, Zahra has plenty of practical tips for newcomers.
“University is not as scary as you might think! People put too much pressure on themselves to pick a subject and stay with it even if they are not enjoying it, but I’ve discovered that students often change subjects after their first year.
“I’ve also learnt that being able to ask questions confidently can get you a long way – asking a silly question that will help you understand something is far better than asking no questions at all out of fear. That gets you nowhere!”