Meet Sophie: Bachelor of Design student

The decision to pursue what she loves and walk through life with an open and inquisitive mind has seen Bachelor of Design student and freelance illustrator, Sophie Schultz carve her own unique path at the University of Melbourne.

Life and study don’t always have to follow a conventional path. I think even now coming to the end of my degree my view has changed so much, the world is your oyster for quite a long time – don’t stress!

“There will always be open doors. As long as you choose something that you are interested in to study, it will be fine. Everything I have done, I have been genuinely interested in and had an open mind toward. That in itself exposes you to so many opportunities. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself and keep doors open.”

Sophie's road to Melbourne

Born and raised in Adelaide, Sophie wasn’t sure what she wanted to do upon graduating high school.

After a gap year, she found herself longing to meet new people and expand her horizons. A feeling that spurred her to leap out of her Adelaide “pond” and study the Bachelor of Design at Melbourne.

“I decided on the Bachelor of Design because it gave me the room to explore my interests widely and discover my passions at my pace,” says Sophie.

During her first year at Melbourne, adjusting to a new city and life on campus was a bit of a shock. Sophie recalls her dad driving with her from Adelaide to Victoria, together they unpacked the car full of belongings, only for him to say goodbye and leave her to start her new life.

“I found it difficult in my first year to adjust to life out of home,” says Sophie. “But, once you learn the ropes of moving, it becomes easier and you become more resilient.”

It was this positive attitude toward change and the support of her family and new friends that helped her to overcome the challenges of living away from home.

“My family were a massive support for me. I actually became a lot closer to my mum, dad and my sisters when I was in Melbourne,” says Sophie.

“During my first year at Melbourne I lived on campus. It was a great opportunity. Everyone I was surrounded by was in a super open mindset to make new friends. I think because we were all from overseas and interstate, we all just bonded.” There is a range of accommodation options, with many located on or close to campus.

It was Sophie’s friends and flatmates that soon became her surrogate family while she was away from home.

“My flatmates wherever I have lived, have become family to me. Moving in with strangers I was looking for somewhere that we could make a home and actually have great relationships. That’s something I’ve been lucky enough to have moving into share houses; and, by extension of family I’ve felt like the people I’ve lived with have been massive in helping me through any difficulties I’ve had,” says Sophie.

Life on road with exchange

Last year Sophie decided to push herself one step further and travel the globe on exchange at the University of Edinburgh.

As an exchange student she lived in a college with approximately 1500 students from around the world. Excited to see Europe with new friends, she spent each weekend exploring a different country - Germany, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain to name a few.

“I did clay pigeon shooting in Fife, which is really far north in Scotland,” laughs Sophie, who ended her exchange with a European ski trip.

“I met some of my now closest friends and have gained so many valuable contacts whom I will definitely keep in touch with over the coming years, both professionally and personally.”

Building her creative tool kit

As a Bachelor of Design student, Sophie has taken the time to focus on her love of illustration and graphic design, while exploring different disciplines through the University’s breadth study tracks.

Breadth subjects are a part of Melbourne’s unique curriculum for undergraduate students. You’ll be empowered to create a degree as unique as you are, by choosing subjects from a different area of study to the degree you enrol in.

I have loved taking subjects outside my specific discipline. The breadth tracks have allowed me to collaborate with a diverse cohort of students.

For Sophie, breadth study, “changes the lens by which you view your discipline.” She explains no study discipline exists in isolation and breadth tracks force you to step outside of what you’re passionate about and see things from a different perspective.

“By third year, you’ve been exposed to so much, which is great because when you do attack subjects it’s like your mind has been opened and you can reference new areas that you have gained a bit of insight into,” explains Sophie.

Throughout her studies, Sophie has pursued a Diploma of Languages in French and dipped her toe into Law and Commerce. Most recently, she enjoyed the breadth subject Entrepreneurship Principles and Tools . A topic that has proven highly relevant, as Sophie continues to manage her freelance illustration business via her own website and Instagram channel.

“Entrepreneurship Principles and Tools attracts a diverse cohort of students with big ideas. I met some amazing commerce students who I am now collaborating with on projects outside of university,” says Sophie.

What did she really think of living and studying in Melbourne?

“Overall, studying at the University of Melbourne has been an exciting and eye-opening experience. It was challenging at times, but I have really enjoyed meeting students from all over Australia and the world throughout my time in Melbourne and abroad. That in itself has been one of the greatest things I felt my experience at the University has offered,” says Sophie.

“And then, definitely my exchange was the best thing I’ve ever done. It was just great. That wouldn’t have been possible, I don’t think, if I hadn’t decided to go to the University of Melbourne. The support you have around organisation and the institutional partnerships that are in place are just amazing – that was by far the best.”


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