Cher Guo’s Family relocated from China to Melbourne when she was 12 years old, making the move with her education in mind. Now, she’s in the second year of the BCom, majoring in Economics and Finance.
For Cher, attending the University of Melbourne was a goal throughout school, and her interest in Commerce and Economics was sparked early.
‘I first discovered economics in high school, and I really loved it. From that point on doing a Bachelor of Commerce became the goal. In my first year, I got the chance to explore a range of different subjects, including accounting, management and marketing. It also really confirmed that what I love is economics and finance, so I decided to go deeper into those two fields in my second year. What attracts me to economics – especially macro-economics – is how it’s really related to everyone, and the impact it has on our daily lives, as a country, and a community, and all of these other factors, such as employment.’
With the onset of COVID-19, 2020 has also been an interesting year to be studying economics.
‘This semester, a lot of our courses have been altered to let us really know and gain exposure to what’s going on in the real world, particularly around COVID-19. I just finished Econometrics 1, and so in that class, a lot of our assignments looked at that. Our main assessment was to build a model to show the impacts of, and extent to which, lifting restrictions would have on COVID-19 numbers,’ she says. ‘I think it’s fascinating how much economic modelling affects policy and decision making in government and the treasury. I feel like studying it now has given me a strong basis for my future career.’
At the moment, Cher is taking her time and enjoying her studies, but she’s also thinking about how she’ll be able to use her skills from the BCom in future.
‘I think I would like to spend some time in the workforce, to go apply what I’ve learned from the BCom in the real world. I also have an idea for a startup, that I’m currently exploring. It’s inspired by the timebank system in Zurich, Switzerland. My goal is to modify that system and create something similar in Melbourne. Having an ageing population starts to put pressure on the government and increases the need for spending on aged care. Timebank is an alternative retirement plan for people, where you volunteer time when you’re younger, then receive that time back in the form of care when you’re old, taking some of the strain off your pension. The idea basically is that you would then give and receive in equal amounts, and hopefully it would encourage more people to volunteer early in life. At this stage, I’m looking at it as a social enterprise, and figuring out how to make it sustainable in the long term.’
Cher was also a member of the Melbourne Peer Mentor Program in her first semester. After finding it incredibly helpful, she’s returned as a mentor, and recommends all new BCom students look at the program.
‘I think it’s a really good way to build your university community and create some balance. Your academic studies are important, but the experience is so much more than that, it’s the clubs and societies, and exploring the campus as well. I think the peer mentoring program is a great way to build those connections and get some guidance, especially this year when things have been a bit more uncertain. It’s a really interesting experience, and as a student there’s so much for you to gain.’