Bunga Barrabugu Winter Program is almost here, and to celebrate we’ve met up with Djanala, BB alumni and all round awesome gal.
DJ graduated from the Winter Program in 2015 and came to the University of Sydney in 2016 to study Bachelor of Arts/Education and pursue her dreams of being a teacher.
She’s also seriously busy, working three jobs and volunteering with AIME and working with us on our events, and doing interviews like this!
Why do you volunteer with AIME?
I volunteer with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) at Uni, and I do it because I participated in AIME from Year 9 through to Year 12. With programs like this I strongly believe in ‘paying it forward’ as a mentor for the new and returning students that participate in AIME each year.
I love seeing the students become more comfortable each week coming to the Uni and seeing the Year 12’s graduate from the program is great. Especially when I know them personally and/or have seen them come through the program.
What’s your favourite memory from the WMBB Program?
To be perfectly honest I can’t name one single favourite memory from my time on the Summer and Winter camps, but I suppose my top 5 would be (in no particular order):
1. Playing Uno, Cards Against Humanity, Jenga, Monopoly, Spoons, etc. – tensions ran high and laughter was non-stop
2. Walking up the stairs to the dining room at the 2015 Summer Program and hearing a friend (talking so loud I could hear her out the door and down the corridor) and feeling instant relief that I wouldn’t be completely out of my depth (note: I am quite shy and aloof when in unfamiliar places)
3. Some of us in the Humanities and Law stream had a talk with a professor about crime deterring/prevention through architecture and landscaping
4. S’mores during 2015 Winter – except for the fact I don’t like marshmallows and basically ate a packet and a half of chocolate digestive biscuits, but it was in good company
5. Last, but not least, it’d be a crime if I didn’t mention the 2015 Summer Program Talent Show – with Jordy’s comedy act taking top spot and True Vibenation giving us a show I will never forget (and a couple stickers I got from the band).
What was the most important thing you took away?
I learned that although being on camp didn’t seem like much more than a weird little not-holiday in the middle of summer at the time, when I got to Uni, to have a few familiar faces at the Cadigal pre-university preparation weeks, as well as a couple of units, really made the transition into Uni a lot easier and smoother.
How did WMBB help influence the person you are today?
I think it made me a lot more understanding towards other Aboriginal kids’ experiences in school and attitudes towards higher education. It also made me significantly more comfortable and confident in my own experiences as an Aboriginal high school student – as well as validating my achievements no matter how much impact they had on myself, my family, and my peers.
What should this year’s Winter Program students know about life after high school?
No matter what you do – whether it is to go onto higher education (Uni/tafe), have a gap year, start an apprenticeship/traineeship, or go straight into the workforce – understand that high school and the HSC/OP are just a stepping stone on the path to your future.
Any extra advice?
TO HSC students: With all the advice and ‘top tips’ that you will be given in the next few months just remember that it is up to you to do your best.
Take everything with a grain of salt, study in whatever way is comfortable for you, don’t compare yourself and your achievements with other students, have hobbies and play sport so you don’t burn out.
Savour the friendships you make because unfortunately not all of them will stand against the unfortunate pressure that comes with final exams.
ALSO – your marks/results are yours and yours alone.
You don’t have to share them and you shouldn’t let them define the 13 YEARS OF SCHOOLING that you went through – families can be tough but always be proud in yourself and what you have achieved.