Meet Jonty Donald: 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 Development Studies (Globalisation and Economic Development) / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
What year of study are you in?
3rd Year.

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

I heard my phone go off but I was studying so I didn’t check to find the email until an hour later! I was incredibly shocked. Good thing I kept studying though because I didn’t go back to being productive for a good hour or two after I found out!

What do you think are the personal qualities that have contributed to your academic achievements?
I enjoy problem-solving so I often treat every bit of uni work – big or small – as a problem that I need to solve. I think I am also a very independent learner. I prefer to delve into the primary sources and academic works myself before a lecturer gives their own take of them.
How do you motivate yourself towards your studies?
In a broad sense, I fear being underprepared. Underpreparedness seldom produces positive experiences for me! I have great respect for the academics who teach me and I feel as though being well-prepared and ready to engage in every class is also common courtesy. In a more day-to-day sense, I love watching studytubers in study breaks (youtubers who vlog about their studying and uni routines).
Who are your role models?
Although not necessarily in a political sense: Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde and Michael Kirby.
What are your goals for the future?
I really want to pursue further law, economics or maybe public health study sometime in the future. I love private law and I am very interested in the legal systems of other countries so career-wise my goal is to work in a role that combines these two interests.
What are three things you enjoy most about studying at the University of Newcastle?
1. The teaching staff are incredible
2. Reading room 2 in the Auchmuty Library – best silent study space hands down (no one ever goes there!)
3. The level of engagement you can have with the academics and teaching staff in your faculties
What tips do you have for other students when it comes to excelling in their studies?

Study hard. By study hard I mean study smart. Know what is expected of you (don’t ignore the learning goals in your course outline/weekly content) and stay on track. Always be VERY prepared – do your readings, summarise your readings and make sure you actually understand your readings. To-do lists are essential and work out your own study systems (I also recommend taking notes digitally so you can edit them easily come exam time). Lastly, put 100% effort into every assignment and don’t be scared of group work.

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