Meet Justin: Diploma in General Studies graduate

Justin Marks says entering the University of Melbourne via its Diploma in General Studies made the change from high school to tertiary study easy. Today, he is studying the Bachelor of Agriculture.

“The Diploma in General Studies (DiGS) made me feel comfortable and confident as the classes were smaller and had a more hands-on approach, which allowed me to engage with my peers and lecturers more productively,” Justin says.

“It was an unforgettable experience that made my first year of uni uncomplicated and allowed me to get into the degree I wanted.”

DiGs is taught at the University’s Dookie campus near Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley, with around 50 students in the cohort per year.

“When you think of a university, you tend to think very metropolitan, but the scenery and the drive to the Dookie campus was very nice,” he says.

“The air’s a lot fresher out there and I liked the scenic views of the campus, the openness of it and the ability to walk to my classes from my dorm in such a short amount of time.”

“The teachers were also more personal than other university classes and, because the classes were much smaller, you could easily get in contact with your lecturers – even during lunch or dinner when we were on campus.”

He says Associate Professor Ros Gall and Dookie tutor and Student Experience Coordinator Karen Edwards, who taught Justin in Academic Writing and Communication, did a lot to support his learning.

“Karen was very helpful in teaching me the fundamentals of writing university-level essays and being able to read and cite academic sources,” he says.

“I feel like doing that subject in DiGS definitely helped me use my resources and to study efficiently in further study. Ros also helped me plan out what I want to do with my career.”

One thing Justin has taken away from DiGS is that interests can change and exploring them through classes allows students to discover new areas outside of a career path.

“That’s the thing with uni – there are always things that are changing. As you go through a course you may find things that you like better. That’s what I found during and after DiGS: as I was doing more science subjects, I found I wanted to do more human biology than animal biology.”

Justin has also found he is now more interested in a career in the medical sciences. He says knowing he’ll have a positive impact on people’s lives motivates him.

“I eventually want to pursue a career in the medical industry and DiGS helped me take one step closer to my dream. Pursuing that interest motivates me to succeed and gain the gratification of achieving something that benefits other people too.”

He says the qualification has set him up well to be confident and achieve at university.

“It helped me develop study habits, friendships and adjust to uni life. The transition from DiGS to my bachelors was quite easy because we were very familiar with university work, and I seem to fit in well at Parkville because I understand the uni lifestyle and DiGS helped with that.”

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