2020 student reflection – Foundation Studies

By Ivan Ilin (student)

Foundation Studies student Ivan Ilin is studying our October Fast Track program from Saint Petersburg in Russia. Things have been challenging in 2020, but as Ivan notes, we have nothing but today, so it pays to look on the bright side.

Ivan Ilin Trinity CollegeMany young students think of entering college as a golden ticket to the life they’ve always dreamed of: new lifestyle, new people, new places, new knowledge, new experiences.

While students of Trinity College’s October Fast Track (OFT) intake weren’t an exception, the cruel year of 2020 had plans of its own. Now, here we are, doing our Foundation Studies online, still eager to make it one of the best experiences of our lives.

Things have definitely been challenging for OFT students. Online education is all about self-discipline: it’s up to you where and when to watch lectures and do your homework, and it’s your responsibility to meet deadlines.

On the bright side, it’s the peculiar nature of 2020 that has given us extreme flexibility in time management, work-life balance and location. Having our studies and jobs online meant it became possible to dedicate extra hours every day to ourselves, self-education, brand new adventures, family and other important things. And again, only we’re responsible for how we spend that precious time.

Besides obvious external factors, there have been emotional insecurities on the inside. All of us experienced cognitive dissonance at some point in 2020. In terms of OFT students, we’re going through a psychological challenge of being marginals: we aren’t high school students anymore but we aren’t at university yet either. We stay in our home countries but we study in Australia. We are looking forward to our future studies, adventures and career, but we have no clue what, and more importantly when, these things will happen.

All we have is now – and now is perfect.

It’s worth pointing out that even with a crazy flow of inner thoughts, my peers and I found ways to make our Foundation Studies at Trinity College special.

Of course, the process of making friends online and leaving our comfort zones has never been easy. But battling common barriers like culture shock and language issues, we managed to do the seemingly impossible — we built a community, made up of people from all around the globe who have never seen each other in real life.

I should mention that this would have been unfeasible without our amazing teachers. With 100 per cent dedication to their work, these incredible people created a friendly environment that promoted cultural and academic exchange. Since our first classes, we were asked to speak out and participate. We were made to feel that our opinions had value, and words are powerless to express our gratitude for that. We can read theories in a book any time throughout our lives, but when else are we given the unique chance to broaden our minds and shape our perceptions of the world, sharing different ideas with individuals of diverse nationalities, political and religious beliefs, and personal stories? Now. Now is a high time.

By no exaggeration I can firmly say that Foundation Studies at Trinity College has been an immensely valuable experience of my life, and I personally do my best to take advantage of it every single second.

Unfortunately, I’m not Baba Vanga, and I— like the majority of human beings — can’t predict the future. We might all end up in Australia in a couple of months or get our University of Melbourne degrees via mail in three years. It’s 2020, babe: no one has insurance for the bright tomorrow, and just like in the song Forever Young by Alphaville, we’re “hoping for the best but expecting the worst”. Nonetheless, all we know is that we have today, and it’s up to us to make this particular day absolutely unforgettable.

By Ivan Ilin

10 Dec 2020
Category: Foundation Studies