Interview with Sara Perry, UNE Bachelor of Media and Communications Student
Blog and interview by the lovely Kate Ryan, Work300 student.
Let’s just say the lady in today’s highlight thought she might slip under the radar and escape a little interview… But, she’s not going unnoticed!
Sara Perry, where do we start! Well, she is a local Armidale girl who went to PLC, she is studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications majoring in Writing and Publishing (and killing it) in her time as a student she has also been awesome at putting her hand up, and getting involved. She has perfected her work/study/life balance like a guru!
We all know that studying and working full time can be a lot, so get ready to be impressed. Sara has worked for Life, Functions & Catering, in The Cafe, in The ‘Stro, and at many events on and off-campus. She started working part-time at UNE Life HQ almost a year and a half ago, as our Brand Strategy and Marketing Managers right-hand gal, and has also joined the team at SABL, in these two roles she writes blogs, conducts interviews, arranges newsletters, and creates social content across a range of channels!
To put it simply… she is a wizard. And really making the most of her opportunities to gain real industry experience, and showcase her skill set!
Tell us about your time at UNE?
My time at UNE has been a pleasant surprise… in that, I started my degree with the expectation I’d just blend into the background and quietly get on with my studies. I also didn’t have a clear idea of what sort of career I wanted. I knew my strengths were in writing and that I really enjoyed it, and so as long as I studied something that played to my strengths I was hoping a career might emerge. 😊
The opportunities I have had working with the branding and marketing extraordinaire Alahna Fiveash at UNE Life, and the Outreach and Engagement team for the Faculty of SABL have not only created a unique #UNEexperience for me but also provided me with the skills to work in digital communications – which has been invaluable towards building a career path after university.
How do you keep on top of your workload?
I cannot live without a to-do list. My schedule is “choco–block” most days with my two jobs + study, so I find that if I sit down at the beginning of each week and I make a list of what I need to get done then I can keep myself accountable for staying on track. So, I guess my motivation comes from a balance of determination and discipline. Determination in the sense that I have a task to do and I want to get it done, and discipline with sticking to the time I have set aside to do it. Also knowing that if I get my work done then I can enjoy fun stuff on the weekend – it’s a good incentive!
Do you have any special hobbies or interests?
Yes, I love anything outdoors and travelling! I find that keeping active during the week has really helped me find a way to release any stress and find focus for the next day ahead. I love all the outdoorsy stuff too, hiking, camping, swimming, snowboarding any chance I get I will try to plan a trip somewhere. Content creation can be draining at times and when creative block strikes, I like to get away from the keyboard and press refresh on my mind, often I find that’s when inspiration flows.
I love to draw and paint, and I can easily lose a whole day without noticing the time pass by. Reading and writing have also been a pastime of mine – I enjoy reading fiction but also enjoy reading opinion pieces and keeping up with current events around the world. I would definitely say my creative interests and empathy towards current affairs have inspired me to study media and comms and I find myself using that creative thought process every single day.
So you’ve had a few jobs whilst being a student, can you tell us about this?
I was a “café chick” at Café Life working for UNE Life Functions and Catering for the first two years of my degree. My currents jobs are really thanks to UNE Life CEO Dave Schmude who during conversation found out I was studying a communications degree and thought I could gain some experience with the branding and marketing team – and that’s where it all began! I met with Alahna, and we clicked instantly, Im sure its mainly because we are both ‘to do’ list fanatics, 😂 but also because we have very similar creative interests.
At the time I was unable to do the WORK300 unit due to only having completed a year’s worth of units and so I began working with Alahna as her assistant creating content for the social media pages. It dawned on me how much I really liked digital marketing and content creation.
After writing a few blogs for UNE Life (and Alahna boasting about her new sidekick) I’d caught the eye of the communications team at UNE and was approached to join the Outreach and Engagement team for the Faculty of Science, Agriculture, Business, and Law (SABL) as the social media officer for the O+E at SABL. I create content, manage the social pages for Science, Ag, Business and Environment, and organise newsletters for the faculty on a regular basis. Working basically full time whilst also studying full time can be overwhelming but taking each day – and each task – one step at a time is essential in beating burnout.
I love the work that I do and as crazy as it sounds – I love being busy! I had someone tell me in middle school that ‘to be interesting, one must be interested,” and that has been the motto that keeps me inspired to continue to develop my writing and communication skills. I get to speak with and write about so many outstanding students and staff at UNE. It has really broadened my perspective about some of the remarkable research that happens at UNE and I am so lucky to be able to communicate those stories to wider audiences.
I’ve learned so much through my time working at UNE. The advice and support I’ve received has not only created a steady foundation for my career path but taught me so much about myself also.
My work with UNE has shown me the importance of finding comfort within my discomfort zone. Working within a corporate media role can be intimidating at times, but my amazing mentors, Alahna at UNE Life and Sally at O+E SABL have shown me the significance in seeing an obstacle as an invigorating challenge – and one that can teach me skills that I wouldn’t get the chance to if I gave up due to fear of failing.
What advice can you give to future and current students?
UNE offers many opportunities to students during their studies that provide them with job-ready skills. WORK300 is an example of a unit that provides you with a chance to work in the career you are working towards. Keep an eye out for any webinars or lectures available to you within your discipline, and job-ready seminars that many Industries provide to university students. My ‘to be interesting – be interested’ motto really resonates here because once you start showing interest in your strengths and the desire to develop your weaknesses, you’ll put yourself way ahead of your peers.
Also, trust that you are where you are meant to be, and play to your strengths. Keep reading, writing, watching, and trying new things that develop your skills and never say no to an opportunity! It could do you wonders! I’m still on the path to my desired career. I hope to see myself working in digital communications after University and I plan to begin a personal blog to explore my writing on contemporary issues in different ways – so watch this space!
Exploring and testing your abilities and challenging your mindset can open doors of opportunity for anyone if they have the willingness to do so. The #UNEexperience is not just about what UNE can do for its students, but what its students can do!
Thank you so much for participating in this interview, being a rock star student and one of our incredible team, we’re very lucky to have you!
If you want to get involved with any extracurricular activities in your time at UNE or you’re looking for a everyday tips, tricks or advice for students explore our website!