Meet Mitchell Cordingley: Academic Excellence Scholar 2020

The Academic Excellence Scholarships Recognising Outstanding Performance in Undergraduate Studies were established to reward hard work, persistence and dedication to academic excellence. In this ‘Meet the Scholar’ series we will introduce you to those undergraduate students who are the 2020 recipients of this generous scholarship. Are you ready to be inspired?

What program are you studying?

Bachelor of Music (Honours).

What year of study are you in?
Image of Mitchell Cordingley
What did you feel when you heard you were the recipient of the Academic Excellence Scholarships Recognising Outstanding Performance in Undergraduate Studies?

I was ecstatic to hear I was a recipient of this Scholarship. To see that the hours of studying, practicing, rehearsing and performing over the course of my degree paid off.

What do you think are the personal qualities that have contributed to your academic achievements?
I feel like being able to develop an interest and passion in the content I was learning helped me engage with it and led to me actually enjoying most the content I was studying (despite the stress.) I also knew where my limits were with my knowledge, and would ask for help wherever I could.
How do you motivate yourself towards your studies?
When I was completing or preparing my assessments, I would imagine myself handing in the final product or doing the final performance. I would think about the feeling of satisfaction I’d get when I click the ‘submit’ button or the energy I’d have performing a song, and would use those feelings to motivate me.
Who are your role models?
Obviously, my parents and sister served as big role models during my studies, not just in what they’ve achieved but in the mindset they had while making these achievements. My lecturers and tutors from throughout my degree also showed me what it is to be a professional musician and to take pride in my music. Ian Dun, Sue Carson, Terence Koo, Adam Miller, Ben Hauptmann, Robbie Long, Nathan Scott, Jeremy Borthwick and Philip Matthias all served as great role models throughout my degree, and for that I am thankful.
But most importantly, the people I studied with served as the biggest role models during my time in the degree. We would motivate each other, support each other and stand by each other at every turn. The sheer talent, dedication and love I saw from my peers and friends set the standard of what I can only hope to one day become. I love them all and thank them for the support and motivation.
What are your goals for the future?
I intend to undergo my honours for my bachelor’s degree and work towards developing a thesis that will help improve my playing, and potentially other people. I also want to continue to build my music career and to use the tools I’ve learned to help me get closer to my goal of playing music for a living.
What are three things you enjoy most about studying at the University of Newcastle?
Over my degree, I was able to explore and learn new genres and styles of music that I had never heard before, and which have now sunken themselves into my personal style of music. I also enjoyed being able to gig and perform with the people around me, and put on some amazing performances that I will remember forever. However, most significantly, my favourite part of the degree was meeting such an incredible group of musicians, and to develop close friendships. Whether we were loitering in the foyer of the Conservatorium between classes, rehearsing together or sharing the stage together, those moments and connections have been the highlight of my degree.
What tips do you have for other students when it comes to excelling in their studies?

I could go on about ‘getting your head in the books’ or ‘give it a red hot go’, but the biggest tip I’d give would be to make sure you have a healthy study/life balance. Make sure you make time for yourself for non-study related hobbies, maintain your friendships and connections, and to not overwork yourself. I’d also suggest surrounding yourself with like-minded, motivated students who you can work together with and have a laugh. Everyone’s in the same boat, so the bigger a support network you can develop with your peers the better.

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