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You are reading: My Story: Vlogging the “new normal” for higher education

Abbey Sullivan, Jeevan Kullar, Monica Dinh, Ashley Willcox, Raymart Walker, Ana Larsen, Farhia Mwechiwa and Takura Matenga

The higher education sector is undergoing radical, rapid change which is posing unprecedented challenges, particularly for disadvantaged students and those who support them.

Through a new vlogging series, the NCSEHE has invited individuals from a variety of backgrounds to share their ongoing experiences of moving from on-campus study to finding their feet in a new—and often unfamiliar—environment.

Over the coming months, this diverse group will invite us into their lives to share their challenges and celebrate their triumphs during, and beyond, the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned to the NCSEHE website, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to our eNews for more updates from our vlogging team!

If you would like to ask the vloggers any questions, or suggest further topics you would like to hear about, we encourage you to get in touch at


Takura Matenga

Takura Matenga was born in New Zealand, raised in Australia and has a Pacific Islander background (Cook Island). The first in her family to go to university, Takura is determined to show her younger siblings that tertiary education is possible, especially for Pacific Islanders.

Takura is in her fourth year of a business degree at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), through which she has received an equity scholarship to support her studies. While the pressures of COVID-19 have forced Takura to move to part-time study, she still manages work as a Student Ambassador and a member of the Explore Uni team, alongside the challenges of a busy family life.

View more video blogs from Takura Matenga


Farhia Mwechiwa

One of 11 children, Farhia is the first to attend university, currently studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Farhia’s biggest struggle with the transition to online learning has been finding a study space at home, to get the most out of the course content while managing her domestic responsibilities.

View more video blogs from Farhia Mwechiwa


Monica Dinh

Second-year medical science student Monica Dinh didn’t expect to be sharing her university classes with her mum, the vacuum cleaner, and two younger sisters. So far, most of Monica’s work has consisted of conducting experiments and using those results to answer questions. Due to COVID-19, Monica now has to adapt to the challenges of a virtual classroom, shared with her family.

Monica will share her experiences as a student and U@Uni Ambassador to ensure others know they are not alone and that we can continue working together to overcome this stressful time.

View more video blogs from Monica Dinh


Ashley Willcox

Experienced online student Ashley Willcox hopes to share her practical and uplifting knowledge to help other students overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite an acquired brain injury, Ashley’s outstanding accomplishments over a long period of study have culminated in a Masters of Teaching in Secondary Education at the University of Technology Sydney.

Ashley is now committed to encouraging those who question their capacity to realise their goals under the current circumstances.

View more video blogs from Ashley Willcox


Jeevan Kullar

A balance between sport, fitness and study has always been key to Jeevan Kullar’s success at university. Now in his third year of a Bachelor of Law with Bachelor of Business at UTS, this will be the first season Jeevan hasn’t been able to play any sport.

Jeevan feels it is essential to adapt and respond to change and—although his role as a UTS Ambassador was temporarily suspended due to social distancing measures in place—he has been committed to sharing his own experiences for the benefit of others.

View more video blogs from Jeevan Kullar


Ana Larsen

Ana Larsen is a Psychology Tutor at Trinity College, University of Melbourne and a sessional lecturer at Federation University in their Foundation Access Studies (FAST) enabling program. Now in her fifth year of teaching, Ana has recently commenced her PhD.

Through this video blog, Ana shares her experiences of juggling work and study, and managing a chronic disease (type 1 diabetes) and financial pressures during this global crisis.

View more video blogs from Ana Larsen


Raymart Walker

Raymart Walker is a first-generation Australian and the first in his family to attend university. Originally from regional Queensland, Raymart relocated to the Sunshine Coast to pursue a Bachelor of International Studies at USC.

Over the past months, Raymart has experienced the layered impacts of COVD-19 firsthand. An early brush with the virus led to a stressful period of self-isolation, alongside an unsettling shift to online learning. Although Raymart faces uncertainty around his current employment and upcoming graduate opportunities, he has channelled his energy into helping other students feel connected and supported during this time.


Abbey Sullivan

After losing her job in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Dietetics student Abbey Sullivan has had to move back to her family home — a large cattle station in western Queensland. While the separation from her friends at university has been difficult, compounded by new challenges of studying online from a regional area, Abbey feels very fortunate to have the support of her family and community.

Abbey’s focus now is on staying positive, being grateful for the “here and now”, and encouraging other students in similar situations to her own.


Stay tuned to the NCSEHE website, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for more updates from the vlogging team!