Education and Arts

Thea Rampling

From the Country to the City: Bachelor of Media Communication student Thea Rampling shares her experiences of the course, her recent internship at ABC Local Radio in Ballarat and living away from home.

Rose Charbel
Thea Rampling

As a former Loreto College Ballarat student, Thea remembers coming to ACU's 2010 Open Day and being impressed by the modern facilities the university had to offer. This was a primary reason for putting ACU as her first preference.

"In today's fast moving tech savvy society, particularly in Media and Communications, the quality of technology you use is crucial to the material an individual produces," she says. "I believe ACU is more than satisfactory in this respect. I remember comparing these facilities to the other universities that I was considering at the time and ACU was well above their standards."

Now in her third year, she has particularly enjoyed the workshop-based classes, which comprise of a small number of students, enabling a more one on one contact with lecturers. 

The highlights have been the design units, in particular 'Digital Imaging' with Damian Smart. "In this unit, I worked closely with Photoshop, designing basic things such as personal logos, websites, business cards and letterheads. I am known to be a perfectionist when it comes the aesthetics of my projects, and this subject encouraged that. This subject has left me wanting to challenge the new skills I have learnt and to hopefully one day expand them in a professional context.  'Writing the news' with ABC's radio and television Producer Kevin McQuillan, has been another stand out for me, as one of my most enjoyed subjects. We learnt the definition of a 'news worthy' article and were taught the requirements of writing at professional journalists standards. I loved this because I was able to imagine being a real journalist following up on local stories and interviewing people, just like any paid professional, and to the same standards."

When asked about her average day as an ACU Media Communication student, Thea says there is never an "average day; "the course covers a variety of mediums, with theory based units and hands on workshops - I find myself doing something completely different every single day, whether it be writing an article, graphic designing or filming a movie. It is never boring."

Living away from her hometown, Ballarat, is challenging for Thea who is renting a suburban share house with five other housemates in Melbourne. "The biggest challenge is maintaining the perfect uni and work balance," she says. "This involves working part time while studying full time to be able to pay for things such as rent, bills and groceries on a week-to-week basis…I find myself occasionally staying up to the early hours of the morning, fitting in time to complete assignments. It also means I don't get much of a chance to be able to go back home and visit my family."

Thea spent a week at ABC Local Radio in Ballarat under the guidance of the Office Manager, radio producer and host Dominic B, as part of the media internship component in the course. 

"It is one thing to learn about it in a classroom or lecture theatre, but it doesn't compare to the excitement of actually going out into the field and witnessing the workings of an actual radio station first hand, especially one that is as credible as the ABC.

I was there for only a short period of time so I didn't get the chance to create a particular role for myself, other than the 'work experience kid', however I was presented with a lot of different opportunities and mini assignments during the seven days that enabled me to make something of an impact.

During the week I was given the opportunity to sit in a number of aired programs, create short audio segments such as a Vox Pop (which was later aired), study current affairs and comprise questions for interviews, script interviews, do some cross media reporting on the road, take photos to be published online and participate in the maintenance of their website."

She says that she was able to use a lot of the skills she has learnt here at ACU in a number of different ways, in the many assignments in which she was appointed. 

"The ACU course offers a wide range of subjects across both media and communications which made it easier to participate with the radio stations projects. The station not only concerns itself with the audio aspects, but also is heavily influenced by the journalistic paradigms and social media influences. I was able to put into practice the skills I have learnt at university, like audio editing from 'Audio Production', online article writing, researching and interview skills from 'writing the news', photography from 'Digital Imaging' and 'screen production' to name a few.

For those students who are still uncertain of exactly what their future career prospects are but have considered something within the media, the Media and Communications course makes it easier to find exactly what you are interested in and what your talents are, by offering a wide range of unit options.

ACU Media Communications offers a wide range of unit options to facilitate a variety of media and communications methods. 

However what stands out in the course for me is the fact that it has a small admittance - you travel the full three years with the same people, sharing the same classes and so on, all of whom you become quite close and comfortable with, almost like a small family. This is what makes it exciting coming to uni everyday because you are not only spending time learning about something you love, but you get to do it with your friends as well. 

Also, because it is only a small group, it makes it easier to develop a good student teacher relationship. I feel as though I can approach my lecturers about anything, whether it be uni related or just for a good chat."

Thea's career aspiration is working for a fashion/design magazine or company; whether it be journalistic, public relations based or even in graphic design. "That way it combines both my passions for design and communications."

June 2013