“For me the best part is the meaningful relationships I developed with the staff – my lecturers and mentors.”
My name: Ben Arrow
My age: 35
My course: BSc Physics and Nanotechnology, Grad Dip Education (Secondary)
A little bit about me
I love motorbikes, science, physics, defence policy and foreign affairs. I’m driven to try new things and take on challenges– I know it’ll often be difficult but I like to take on challenges. I’m also a father of two boys who are four and six, both have been diagnosed with autism.
Most of my degree has been completed externally and half of that time I was living in Margaret River, so I’ve only recently become a metro-based student. I have previously worked in IT, oil and gas, defence and calibration laboratories. Currently I’m in the middle of a career change to an educational focus.
How I would describe my way of thinking
It’s hard to be self-reflective on the way that you think! But I hope that I think differently, outside of the box and I’d say it’s possibly a little left-field. I like to analyse situations before making decisions so maybe it’s questioning and considered.
My way of thinking has allowed me to try many different things, including testing out new tools for learning or new ways of representing content so that I could engage with it in different ways.
Curious about Ben’s way of thinking? Check out his Spotify playlist below:
How I knew I wanted to study physics and education
I was working as a civilian contractor with the Australian Defence Force when I was posted with the special forces to support training exercises, which exposed me to a wide range of technology. Working with professionals of that calibre really inspired me to push myself harder.
I was exposed to a different world where the technological and scientific aspects of defence pointed me towards physics and maths. I thought, “This is really cool, I really want to pursue this. How can I do it?” and having enjoyed physics in high school I thought it would be something worthwhile.
Why I chose Murdoch
I contacted Murdoch the year before I enrolled and they were really supportive of external students and people doing career changes or further study as working adults. The uni is accommodating and understanding of different situations, and they provide the flexibility and support I need to complete my studies as an external student.
Murdoch really strives to encourage students to be lifelong learners.
Why I love Murdoch
For me the best part is the meaningful relationships I developed with the staff – my lecturers and mentors. They have a good open door policy which means they’re happy to see you and help you out where they can. Even if they can’t help you directly, they will have some advice on who you can chat to.
I think it’s the supportive staff that sets Murdoch apart. All universities understand the theory and content required to produce quality graduates, but I found it was Murdoch staff that provided the level of support to make sure my journey through studying was a positive one.
My most memorable experience
It’s all been great! The recent one has been a cell biology unit I enrolled in as part of my Diploma of Education course – which is totally left-field from all the physics and maths I’ve being doing. I really loved the approach the lecturer, Dr Cassandra Berry, took as it was practical and engaging. I loved it so much that I thought, ‘My next degree is going to be biology based!’
My proudest achievement
Finishing my physics and nanotechnology degree! But in all seriousness, it was really good to win the awards I’ve won, especially the VC Award for Academic Excellence which I didn’t expect. I also received several awards for my physics units and these were completely unexpected. For a while I even thought I was receiving spam email about the awards as I didn’t believe I could have won them.
My plans for after graduation
I promised my wife I’ll take a break from studying, so I’ll be working – but I won’t necessarily be a teacher.
This is a common misconception – there’s an assumption that by studying education, you must pursue teaching. But an education degree also provides you a way of being able to communicate complex ideas to a wide range of audiences, from a basic level up to a technical level. I can use education to explain physics in a wide range of industries, so I’m open to explore opportunities.