Meet Eilish O’Malley: 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 Speech Pathology

What year of study are you in?

Second Year

What did you feel when you heard you were the recipient of the Academic Excellence Scholarships Recognising Outstanding Performance in Undergraduate Studies?

I actually thought it was a massive prank! I am just so passionate and in love with my degree, I never actually expected that I would qualify for any sort of academic award. I was absolutely blown away and so thankful to receive this award, as I thoroughly enjoyed my first year of study in my amazing degree, and it’s such a shock/honour to be recognised for doing something I genuinely enjoy. I am so proud of myself, and every other student that puts effort into their studies!

What do you think are the personal qualities that have contributed to your academic achievements?

I have a ‘big picture’ goal that I want to achieve with my degree in the big wide world after university. I think this “dream” has kept me motivated to try my best on every task handed to me. Studying, home life, uni life, work life; they’re always changing, so having a goal to work towards has definitely stabilised me and helped me look into the future. I am also a bit of a naturally anxious person, so keeping organised and trying not to procrastinate has really helped me stay on top of assessments.

How do you motivate yourself towards your studies?

I have a little diary planner that enables me to set everything out clearly, and I try to structure my weeks with designated study times. Staying on track with this as closely as possible also allows me to have much more guilt-free spare time to see my friends, family, and take some down time. I think a good balance between study and relaxation is really really important. I also have a dream of where I want to end up with my degree after uni finishes, and this motivates me to be the best version of my academic-self, so I will be best prepared to help my future clients! Most importantly, I love my degree. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually enjoy writing essays at ALL, but when you are enjoy what you are studying, it makes it so much easier to be engaged and involved.

Who are your role models?

My role models are my parents; they are both so passionate about their jobs, which both involve helping people, and they always try to be the best versions of themselves for those who need them, both inside and outside of work. My SPTH lecturers and tutors both this year and last year are also massive role models for me. They embody my dream of what I want to achieve when I graduate. They have all succeeded in their professional lives, achieving amazing feats and contributing so greatly to the field of Speech Pathology, raised families, and also teach at the university. They are highly inspiring women.

What are your goals for the future?

I would love to work in Paediatric Speech Pathology. Working with kids is a passion of mine, and I would love to be able to help them in all different ways. I’m only in my second year of studies, so who knows, I might become passionate about another area of speech pathology too! I am also planning to travel more before my degree ends and I enter the workforce, as I believe that – while I do love university and studying – there is only so much you can learn about the world from textbooks and sitting in a class, and the rest comes from immersive experiences!

What are three things you enjoy most about studying at the University of Newcastle?

Being inspired by my passionate lecturers and my amazing friends that I have made in my course. The supportive environment where staff are always there to answer questions and help you out. The pies at Bakehouse!

What tips do you have for other students when it comes to excelling in their studies?

If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, reach out. Whether it be giving askUON a ring, or sending an email to a staff member, or messaging a friend in your course, there is always someone willing to listen to whatever problem you’re experiencing, and no issue is too big or small to be heard. Try your best and don’t second guess yourself. I have never thought that I am a terribly intelligent person and if you told me at the beginning of last year that I would receive a scholarship, I would’ve laughed at you! I can honestly say I just love what I am doing at uni and that makes it 10x easier to be interested. You are so much more capable than you think you are, and you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

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