Double degree doubling choices
ACU alum Jessie Chibber is just 25 years old and has already worked in medicine, law and mining. She is making the most of her psychological science and law double degree.
When deciding on where to study, personal attention and helping others were top of Jessie’s list of needs.
“I was really drawn to the human rights focus within the ACU law degree and wanted a university experience that was more personalised than others and somewhere I was not suddenly in a cohort of a thousand students, but one of a couple of hundred,” she said.
“I applied for early admission and was granted a conditional offer pending results which gave me a real sense of happiness and hope for the future.”
More than a number
Once she arrived at ACU in Melbourne Jessie jumped into the campus experience with both feet.
“I really enjoyed getting to know the lecturers and tutors at ACU and found that it was a much more personalised experience where the lecturers knew your name and were always happy to sit down and have a chat about life after university and what that might look like. I felt very supported and like I was a part of a fabulous class, rather than simply a student going through university on my own,” Jessie said.
“The teaching staff were always keen to talk with you one-on-one about a mark you received on an assignment and nurture you to continually do better. I was able to start my Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice early thanks to a conversation I had with one of my lecturers, which helped put me ahead of other students from other universities.”
There’s more to learning than what goes on in the classroom and Jessie had an opportunity to take part in ACU's Thomas More Law School pro bono program. She joined hundreds of other students who have delivered more than 20,000 hours of pro bono service.
“This experience helped to really open my eyes to the world of law and gave me a real sense of pride that the university I had chosen cares so much for our community and wants us as students to add value. My time with two community legal centres saw me stay well beyond what was required of me from the university and enabled me to meet other like-minded students and legal professionals with who I formed great connections,” she said.
“At the beginning of my final year, I was selected to undertake one of my subjects overseas in Rome. This experience was a real highlight of my time at ACU. I enjoyed being with the same lecturers and students learning about international criminal law whilst overseas, as well as being shown the important sights of Rome.”
Armed with two degrees and a bunch of professional experience, Jessie took the first steps in what would, in a short time, become a varied career.
“My first job out of university saw me at the Medical Assessment Tribunal in Brisbane as a Tribunal Officer. I interacted a lot with clients as I took on more of a support role for those attending final workplace medical assessments,” Jessie said.
“Once I had been admitted as a lawyer, I then moved on to the role of conflicts lawyer in a large global commercial firm, which gave me a real insight into the types of work and fields of practice I could step into in the future. This job saw me interact with other solicitors and partners to ensure the integrity of the firm.
“I am currently working as a Mine Controller in Brisbane where I am responsible for the management of the on-site fleet of a mine, ensuring the safety of the personnel and co-ordinating emergency situations. I really enjoy the problem solving and decision-making responsibilities of my role and find that this pushes me to do better with every decision and be more confident in the ones I have made. Coming into a new industry that I was not familiar with has had its challenges and been a steep learning curve, however I have really liked it. It is a new adventure into an industry I had not actively considered but am really enjoying being a part of now.
“I am very proud to say that I am a lawyer, and while I may not be working directly in the industry at this time, the things that I have learnt at ACU and in my career have fostered the opportunities that are now available to me.
“The values that ACU has instilled in me has seen me strive for a job with a large community focus and a company that also has strong values that they stand by. I lean towards roles that are widely beneficial to the community and connect with others who have a similar community-focused background.”
The advice she would give herself as a commencing student?
“It’s ok to question what you want in a career and follow a path that is right for you, regardless of the degrees that you have hanging on the wall. Those degrees will always help you in attaining positions and are a great way for you to stand out as a candidate for a job, however, don’t feel like you must stick within the normal career path of someone with your degree. You need to find a career path that you are happy with and one that you could see yourself in for the long haul, not one you are just swimming along in, trying to get through.”
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