Becoming a leader at Deakin University
My name is Abdulqawiyu but everyone calls me Papa. I’m originally from Offa in a state called Kwara, north-central Nigeria (West Africa). I grew up in Minna, in Niger State, where I lived with my two siblings and completed a bachelor degree in architecture, before moving to Australia in February 2020 for my Master of Architecture degree at the prestigious Deakin University.
My journey at Deakin has been fruitful and eventful, from my studies, to living in Deakin residence and eventually becoming a residential leader. To mention a few highlights: coming second place in the national Fleetwood Challenge Cup design competition, receiving the Deakin Residential Services (DRS) ‘Respect Values’ award and being part of the 2021 Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment (SEBE) Students as Partners Committee.
Residential leadership role
In 2020, I applied to be a residential leader (RL) in Deakin Residential Services (DRS) for the 2021 academic session, and thus my journey as a leader at Deakin University started. Consequently, at the end of the second quarter, I commenced training in a diverse team of 40 other residential leaders, also selected for the role across Deakin’s Geelong campuses.
On commencing my role, a major part of my responsibilities as an RL was to provide transitional support and act as the first point of contact for students living at Deakin. I attended training and leadership development programs, met with Deakin staff, and planned, facilitated and promoted a broad range of residential activities. Living in residence close to Eastern Beach, I love to go on walks at all times of the day and often visit the beach to appreciate the scenery and hang out with friends.
It was a great honor to receive the 2021 Deakin Residential Services RESPECT Values Award for the Waterfront Campus. The award acknowledges my contribution in upholding the right of students, staff and our environment. It has indeed been a wonderful experience to be part of the DRS community for almost 2 years. I was also recently recognised with a Deakin Leadership Hallmark, as a result from my positive contribution to living on campus, and in the broader Deakin community.
It was a great honor to receive the 2021 Deakin Residential Services RESPECT Values Award for the Waterfront Campus. The award acknowledges my contribution in upholding the right of students, staff, and our environment.
Beyond my role as an RL within DRS, I have also had opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills during my coursework while studying for my Master of Architecture degree. To be a leader is to set a positive example for the people you lead. Design evaluations in my course of study can be tasking and tiring. I, therefore, make every effort to encourage my colleagues and provide support in every possible way.
National student competition
In March 2021, I, together with four other selected students from my faculty, entered the Fleetwood Challenge Cup competition, a team-based national design challenge aimed at discovering the next generation of young environmental design experts to drive the industry into an innovative future.
I collaborated with my team members over a period of four months to bring out our proposal for a prefabricated, modular development in the heart of Geelong, Australia. I still remember how euphoric we all felt when we got the news that we made it to the top four finalists out of 26 teams and over 100 students who applied. Eventually, we were announced second place overall.
Faculty Student Committee
The Science, Engineering and Built Environment Student Committee is comprised of a diverse group of students from different schools within the faculty, each with their own skillset and their own opinions. Members of the committee came together throughout the trimester to discuss student life and the student experience at Deakin while proposing different ways in which they could be improved. The group worked well as a team, complementing each other while also challenging each other’s ideas to ensure our proposal was well thought out.
All these experiences and more have led to me becoming much more adept at delivering tasks and executing ideas and made my experience in the amazing community of Deakin more rewarding. I will surely relive all this over and over again! It feels like two successful lifetimes already. I genuinely believe Deakin has prepared me well for the future, in terms of being a wonderful architect, leader and good team player with the discipline to survive the rigors of life.
All these experiences and more have led to me becoming much more adept at delivering tasks and executing ideas and made my experience in the amazing community of Deakin more rewarding.
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