Josephine on Studying Criminal Justice

Gunditjmara Land (Heywood, Victoria) 
Bachelor of Criminal Justice Studies, Victoria University
Disability Support Coordinator 
Hiking, travelling, gardening 

From the wrong uni course to the right one 

Not knowing what to do after highschool

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after high school. When I finished year 12 I was a bit lost. I decided to go straight into uni and moved to Adelaide to study a bachelor of science. However after the first six months I realised it wasn’t the course for me. I got quite homesick while I was there and so I dropped out. For the six months after that I spent a lot of time looking into where I was going to go next. 

Trying a new uni

The following year I moved to Melbourne and went to Victoria University to study criminology. I was living in the western suburbs of Melbourne but also commuting back to my hometown to do part-time work. I lived in Melbourne four days of the week, and then travelled home to work on the weekends. During that degree I went over to Ireland to do a semester of study abroad. It was so fun, and I really had the time of my life. I definitely got sidetracked from studying, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Studying what I loved

I really loved what I learned in criminal justice, like sociology and criminology. I wasn’t actually sure that studying criminal justice would lead to a career, but I did it because I loved the study topics. 

After I finished uni I went to the Netherlands and worked for six months. When I came back to Australia I looked for a job in the criminal justice field. It took me quite a few months to find a job. However, I eventually got a job doing youth engagement work with the Golden Plains Shire. I did a brief stint there before landing the job that I’m still doing today – working as a disability support coordinator. I’m based in both Warrnambool and Portland. It’s a pretty challenging role, but I definitely think I’m growing in it. Eventually I think I would like to return to working in the youth engagement area.

My advice for choosing what to  study

When you’re looking at all the opportunities out there, like uni, TAFE or employment, and you think they look awesome, you’ve just got to stop and think… does that really align with my personality? And does it align with where I want to live? If you want to live in a rural area, then it’s probably best to not study a degree leading to jobs in the inner city because you’ll struggle to get a job when you go back to the country. It is a difficult thing because knowing what would suit you isn’t something you’re aware of at 18. But you’ve got to think about who you are and match that opportunity to you. 

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