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By James Alvarez

            I am a first year business student at La Trobe Business School who came straight out of high school and jumped head first into university. My university journey started before I had even begun my year 12 final exams, searching through endless course guides and attending so many Open Days I found myself dreaming of La Trobe University. The colourful and natural environment of the Melbourne campus was so inviting, and La Trobe quickly became my first choice. After going to Experience La Trobe days, Aspire, an amazing early admission program, became a clear and easy to follow way of getting into university.

            Before entering my VCE exam period I filled out the online Aspire application, in which I highlighted the community work I have done for my school and the fundraisers I have organised, one being for the Royal Children’s Hospital. To my excited surprise, my Aspire offer came through in September for the Bachelor of Business in La Trobe Business School. This took a lot of weight off my mind before I sat my exams!

            After my high school life had come to an end, my uni life had already begun and, attending all the ‘days’ La Trobe offered, I quickly became friends with both students and staff.. I must have been smiling nicely and shaking the right hands because before the academic year had begun I was offered a role in the Student Ambassador program. Just recently I was assigned to a photoshoot with the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, for a brochure and I made the cover! Amazing networking and great fun and a pleasure to be involved in.

            The 2nd and 3rd year ambassadors became like older brothers and sisters to me, helping me to understand a range of university jargon such as referencing and the LMS. If truth were to be told, this made university seem larger than life. But I was quickly brought back to earth when an ambassador told me where the best coffee was on campus.

            And then the academic year began. Attending my first ever university seminar in Business Foundations I was warmly welcomed and given detailed explanations on anything I needed to know. I found that business students at La Trobe are very like-minded people, all very keen to help one another and being open to group work activities.

            Feeling alone at La Trobe University and within LBS has not been an issue for me. The support liaison team were an amazing help when they noticed I had accidentally enrolled myself into a 2nd year subject in my first semester! They emailed me outlining the problem and then took the time to call me and guide me through my StudentOnline to get the issue rectified. After the problem was sorted, they gave me their contact details for any future questions I have. This is a huge helping hand for a first year with no prior knowledge on such matters, like myself! Similarly, the Ask La Trobe team have always been quick and easy to talk to. Want to know how to print? Ask La Trobe. Don’t know how to get your student ID? Ask La Trobe. Don’t know who to ask about a problem with a specific subject? Ask La Trobe.

            So far my academic year has been driving along a very smooth road. The LMS makes this possible by giving me metaphorical road signs that point me to my destination, such as assignments, readings for that week and awesome online lectures I can do from the comfort of my own bed if I please! In my two weeks at university I have already built a note taking system and handed in my first short writing diagnostics take through TurinItIn which a 3rd year commerce student helped me through.

            This is only the beginning of my university journey and it has already been an amazing one! I hope to continue my study and to continue to have a great time with all the new and amazing people here at La Trobe. Now I am going to continue my online lectures!

James Alvarez is a first year La Trobe Business School student who is involved in La Trobe University’s ASPIRE programme.