Exploring student perspectives at QUT’s School of Communication: Abbey Geran

By T.J. Thomson/ Media and Communication
Learn about digital media and law student Abbey Geran's experience at Australia’s top-ranked School of Communication.

In 2018, QUT’s School of Communication launched its newly developed Bachelor of Communication degree allowing students to enroll in any of its five study areas: Digital Media, Media and Entertainment Industries, Journalism, Professional Communication, and Advertising and Public Relations.

Additionally, students in select study areas can pursue double degrees in business, information technology, justice, law, science, nutrition science, and public health, allowing them greater career flexibility and additional post-graduation options.

The Creative Industries Faculty, in which the School of Communication is housed, hosts more than 5,000 students. Of these, more than 10% are internationals and 63% are women. In 2019, QUT’s School of Communication was recognised as the country’s best and the 16th best worldwide. Beyond these statistics, though, what’s it like to be a student in our School?

Image by Dr T.J. Thomson, FHEA

“I’m grateful to have been taught by some very approachable, experienced, and passionate academics throughout my time in the School of Communication.”

Q: What attracted you to QUT/The School of Communication?

One of the best parts about my course is that it incorporates practical work experiences, so I have been able to get on-the-job training in real-world work environments, while also earning credit towards my studies. This has been invaluable in helping me to build my CV while at university, in preparation for when I graduate.

Q. What skills or experiences learnt here will you take with you beyond the university?

Throughout my degree I have had the opportunity to learn about a broad range of media and communication industries, and get a taste for the different paths that I might choose to follow after I graduate. I have studied some units where I have learned how to be a successful verbal, visual, written and cross-cultural communicator, and others where I have delved into the skills required in journalism and the marketing, digital media, advertising and public relations industries.

Q. What advice do you have for students who want to study here?

Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that might seem daunting or out of your comfort zone. Through one of my media and communication units, I was offered the chance to participate in a one-on-one mentoring session with an industry professional. While I was nervous to accept the opportunity at first, looking back, I’m so glad I did. It led to me undertaking an internship with my mentor, followed by some part-time work in her company, and a trip to Outback Queensland to run social media for a 40,000-attendee event. The broader network I have developed as a result of my saying ‘yes’ to that initial coffee catchup is priceless.

Q. What’s something you’ve learnt here that would be difficult to learn on your own or elsewhere?

QUT’s focus on blending practice and theory to create career-ready graduates sets it apart from other courses. Here I have learned practical skills, such as how to write a blog post, or design a web page, and had the benefit of receiving in-depth feedback on this work from my teachers. These types of skills are the ones that, from my internship experiences, employers have called upon me to demonstrate at work. Without having had the time and assistance to refine them at university, I wouldn’t have been so confident using these skills on the job.

Q. What was your motivation in selecting a double-degree program and what has been your experience so far with it?

I was driven to select my double degree in Media and Communication and Law because I thought it was the best way to combine the skills I had when I left high school. I didn’t have to choose between my two areas of interest – my double degree has allowed me to draw upon my writing skills, problem-solving abilities, and innate creativity, and get the ‘best of both worlds’ by studying two courses that I love.

My experience as a double-degree student has been overwhelmingly positive. The two faculties that I study in are very different, which has kept me engaged and challenged as I’m always using my brain in different ways and doing new types of work. I have formed relationships with a wider student network, undertaken several different work experiences, and developed a deep knowledge of two distinct industries.

The skills I have learned in my Communication degree have complemented my Law degree: excellent communication skills are critical to being a great lawyer, and the ability to think and problem-solve systematically is highly-sought after in the media industry. I anticipate that employers will be interested in what I have to offer because my areas of expertise extend beyond a single discipline. This also gives me greater flexibility because I’m not constrained to one particular career path; my media and communication and law qualifications present a wide array of job opportunities.

Hopefully these insights will provide a better perspective into what it’s like to be a student at Australia’s top-ranked School of Communication. If you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree and are interested in further study and up-skilling your career, consider our newly launched Master of Digital Communication course or a doctoral-level qualification.