INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE PRECIANS
Let’s talk about a particular UNE student, someone whom has immersed herself within an incredibly wide range of student organisations… Sophie Percians.
With a humble beginning as a member of the UNE Netball Committee and a huge contributor to her college environments at Austin College, Sophie has branched out and grasped all aspects the UNE Experience. At fingertips reach of her degree, Sophie is the master of multitasking, as she juggles full-time work, study and her various volunteer roles at Tune!Fm and The Law Students Society. Just a few weeks ago at the annual Clubs & Society’s awards night, Sophie received the prestigious Hall of Fame award for her dedication to the University and contribution to the improvement of culture and social capital over a long period of time – Congrats Sophie!
Sophie is constantly surprising me; she has an amazing sense of determination that compliments her outstanding commitment to the Clubs & Society’s she is involved with. She’s a good egg – Ben Bible, Manager of communications & student experience, UNE Life
We pinched a few moments of Sophie’s busy schedule to find out a little more…
What is one thing everyone should know about you?
The first thing you should know about me is that I am committed to everything I sign up to. I am a loyal and hardworking person and enjoy taking on new challenges.
When did you first start studying at UNE?
I began studying in 2014 at UNE because it was close to home. In fact, the plan was to transfer to Newcastle after one year so that I could study at home, but I ended up falling in love with UNE and Armidale – it’s been six years and I’m still here! 💗
What led you to study law?
I found a passion for law whilst completing commerce and legal studies in high school. It’s been a long road but I’m so close to the end – I only have one exam left before graduating with a degree in Arts/Law (yikes!). Why Arts/Law? Well by including ‘arts’ within my law degree it gave me the ability to study topics I am interested in, such as international history and environmental law. The degree is usually five years but in 2018 I picked up full-time work and decided that by spreading out my four-hundred level units I can spend more time focusing on the coursework for those units. After I complete my Arts/Law degree I am going to undertake a Masters of Law – majoring in natural resource governance. This project will allow me to specialise in environmental law, which is something that is so current and a passion of mine!
Which clubs and societies have/are you been involved in at UNE?
There have been quite a few clubs I have been involved with at UNE… I guess it all began with my participation within the UNE netball committee, before involving myself in the Tune!FM, I volunteered in this program for nearly two years – it was so much fun. A lot of my friends were involved in Tune so that was initially how I started doing general volunteering, before helping out as the events and marketing coordinator. I am still involved with Tune but I only help out with events now.
I absolutely love doing the events and will always find the time to get involved and help out in some way. I was involved in all three Winter’s we have had, as well as the Autumn and Summer events.
Although Tune!Fm has been dear to my heart, another society I am heavily involved in is The UNE Law Students Society (LSS). I joined LSS in 2017 as Vice President Social, followed by my position as secretary in 2018 and this year I became President. Organising events and my various roles within LSS have definitely taught me patience and to not sweat the small things. I am no longer the sort of person to break down over something small anymore – it takes a lot now to crack me haha.
Where do you currently work?
I am an admin assistant in the newly formed graduate school in SABL (Science, Agriculture, Business, Law). I provide admin assistance and support to the environmental rural science and, science and technology high degree research students. I process all the paperwork, organise training, as well as coordinating social media. It has definitely helped me understand the thesis component that I will have to complete for my masters and what goals I need to set.
How do you balance all your commitments (work, study, and clubs)?
I guess it’s trying to make sure that all of these events don’t all happen at the same time, but that isn’t always in my control. I’m lucky to have some really supportive people around me – they actually make sure I get to sleep every night (at least six hours). It’s those times when I’m feeling overworked that my confidence begins to sink and it’s my support network who remind me that I’m doing great. They push me to keep going, and this helps me to keep my self-confidence up. My motivation comes from knowing that I have work to do, but it’s also really important to give yourself a day off, I always try and give myself Saturday where I choose to not do any study or work, it’s a full day dedicated to me, myself and I.
I heard you once drove the first campus transport bus… how did you land that job?
Haha, I did that back in 2017, it was through the lovely Tania at Tune!Fm, who knew I was looking for work and helped me get me the job. I worked night shifts from 8 pm through to midnight one the UNE Life van and waiting for calls from students who would need transport around campus and the colleges. There were four of us and we would rotate throughout the week. It was a really fun job that taught me how to be resilient.
What is The Student Law Society and what do you do within that club?
It’s a society for all law students on campus and online students. It fits into UNE Life Clubs & Societies as one of the academic groups as it helps to engage students with the profession and most importantly engage them with other law students. Being able to interact with each other and develop communication skills is so prevalent in a law career, as president, I have been able to go to conferences representing UNE Law Student Society which was a great opportunity to develop my networking skills. Networking is something that I have tried to implement within the operations of the LSS. It’s all about managing and being involved. We don’t have the numbers like other Law Student Societies, with only six of us on campus, and three externals, but we are a passionate group of people who enjoy working as part of a team.
What did you learn from your experience at the student radio?
I’ve learned that I have strength and confidence within myself – even though I may not feel like I do some days. TuneFM volunteering gave me the strength to do things like speaking on air – the first time I had to read something they were like “just go radio, it will be fine” and I was like “but people can hear me talking, what if I stuff up?!!” but you come to learn that if you stuff up, you just keep going… also no one knows your face – that’s a plus haha!
What is your favourite thing about UNE?
The student experience of course! 😁 I have had such a great experience while I’ve been an undergrad. I went and got myself involved in things, instead of putting my head down for the eleven weeks in a trimester – I became an active member of the UNE community. There are so many opportunities that are afforded to us that you just won’t find if you don’t try. For example, I went on a three-week exchange to the Netherlands through my degree and that was something I had never thought of doing. Something I have learned through my UNE experience is that putting your hands up for things can get you results… what do you really have to lose?
What is one thing you would change about the world?
I wish that people are more open-minded and willing to accept other opinions, there are so many people that can become close-minded to so many issues, they should hear the opinion of all sides to an issue and the different ways people are affected.
How important has it been to study in a regional area?
It has given me the experience and knowledge that isn’t so accessible in a big city – I feel as though I’d be lost amongst so many people. A lot of the decisions I have made have been influenced by living in a rural area and studying on a campus with a small community; a university with a higher GA has a lot more competition and it’s easy to not put your hand up and take on new leadership roles when the competition is intimidating, I probably wouldn’t have gone for a role like President for the Law Society if I didn’t study regionally.
Sophie, you’re a bit of a legend, thank you for sparing some of your busy time to chat with us! If you’d like to follow Sophie on her journey you can follow her on