No place like home

...unless you live in Melbourne, according to Bachelor of Commerce student Jake Edwards.

Moving from a country village to the ‘big smoke’ brings challenges and opportunities, but first-year Bachelor of Commerce student Jake Edwards is beginning to warm to the idea of calling Melbourne home.

Jake, who hails from Narrawong on the north shore of Portland Bay, says: “I was blown away by the sheer number of people and how busy the CBD is daily, but I’ve been fortunate to meet tons of great people from all walks of life.”

“The best thing about moving to Melbourne has been realising that there are so many opportunities out there for you whatever you want to do.”

Jake is a firm fixture on the Uni Blacks football team and lives on campus at International House through the Commerce at International House Scholarship, which has helped him to settle in quickly.

But, Jake says, his seamless transition had a lot to do with his mentor and Year 11 and 12 economics teacher, Christopher Weinberg. Christopher graduated from the Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) 2013 and became a teacher through Teach Australia. He is now studying for his Master of Teaching at the University of Melbourne.

“Chris taught my Year 11 and 12 economics class and it ended up being my favourite subject,” Jake explains.

Chris and Jake
Christopher and Jake catching up on campus
We worked closely together in Year 12 and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without his help and support. Now, studying commerce at the University of Melbourne, I really value how much Chris’s teaching prepared me for first-year microeconomics and macroeconomics.”

The two often catch up when Christopher is around campus and Jake knows his mentor is just a phone call away if he needs to refocus or is feeling overwhelmed.

“We caught up for coffee during my first weeks of semester one. I was quite apprehensive, but he really helped to steady my nerves,” Jake says.

“He’s been there through the ups and downs of my education and I think that’s something quite unique and special that doesn’t happen often these days.”

Christopher is a strong advocate of mentoring to help students to make the transition from secondary school to tertiary education.

“There are so many challenges for students starting university and teenagers coming from rural areas can find the added adjustment to the new surroundings (in the city) really difficult,” Christopher says.

“I try to bridge the gap between school and university by providing opportunities for experiential learning at school so that personal responsibility for course work isn’t such a shock.”

Jake has loved meeting people from all over the world who have come to Melbourne to study, something that has really broadened his horizons. He has also learned how important it is to get the right balance between study, sports and his social life.

“I learned through the rigors of semester one how to find that balance,” Jake says. “Otherwise, I’d end up having a meltdown on the phone to mum.”

So, if he’s not on the football pitch or in the library, Jake is often striking that balance with a stroll around Federation Square, taking in the architectural juxtaposition of old and new in Melbourne’s beautiful CBD.