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New horizons at home: Drew is thriving at CDU

This article appears in: Education, High school to uni
CDU student Drew Whitehouse smiling at the camera surrounded by trees

While contemplating his tertiary study options after finishing high school in Katherine, Drew tossed up whether he should study a teaching degree in Darwin, or head south like some of his peers. But, after some self-reflection, he decided that staying in the NT could offer many advantages.

Drew was keen to grow as a person, and wanted a university that could support his goals.

“I figured I didn't have to force myself to go somewhere radically different to what I was more familiar with in order to be challenged,” he says.

Craving personal growth, Drew made the decision to study at CDU. “Independence and personal responsibility were primary motivators in selecting my preferred university. I wanted to go to somewhere that would challenge my habits,” he says.

And studying at CDU has certainly offered Drew many opportunities for growth. “One of my best accomplishments, to my surprise, has been my grades. I've almost consistently scored distinctions in all my units,” he says.

From career uncertainty to clarity

Drew never planned on studying teaching. When he finished high school in Katherine, his heart was set on becoming a pilot, but life had other plans and soon, all options were on the table.

It was a conversation that gave Drew some much-needed clarity. “My mum and stepdad suggested teaching, as they believed I had a ‘knack' for remembering aspects of history and a good method of explaining topics related to the subject,” he says. 

This suggestion stayed with Drew, and helped him chart his career in education.  

Drew hadn’t planned on going to university, so he started his tertiary studies with CDU’s Tertiary Enabling Program (TEP).

TEP is a free pathway program for students who didn’t complete year 12, achieve an ATAR or haven’t studied in a while. It gives students the chance to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed at university.

Thanks to these newly-gained skills, and that fateful conversation with his parents, Drew is now thriving in his studies. “I am studying a Bachelor of Secondary Education, majoring in History and minoring in English,” he says.

CDU student Drew Whitehouse smiling at the camera surrounded by trees

A bright future

With impressive grades under his belt, Drew is excited about the future. “I intend on becoming a secondary teacher, preferably within the public sector,” he says.

“My preferences on location would be anywhere within the Northern Territory, as I wish to give back to the wider community in my home territory.”

Drew also holds high aspirations for the type of teacher he’d like to be, and the qualities he will instil in his students. “I will encourage my students to question the information I provide them, as well as to broaden their perspectives beyond narrow ways of thinking,” he says.

Creating memories, making friends

Drew has settled well into university life and is thankful for the memories he continues to make at CDU.

Having chosen to reside on campus at International House Darwin (IHD), Drew has made friends from all walks of life.

“Making new friends has been a blast, as well as learning to take care of myself and having more time to myself,” he says. 

IHD, which promotes connection and cooperation amongst its students, has given Drew the chance to connect with peers from as near as Darwin, and as far as Sweden.

Admitting that he “had never really interacted with others from such different cultural upbringings,” Drew has learnt that common interests allow friendships to flourish, no matter where you are from.

With the support of his friends at IHD and the CDU community, Drew is on track to achieve his goals. And even though he never dreamt of becoming a teacher, there’s no doubt he will make a big impression once he steps foot in his first classroom. With his strong grades and a passion for growth, the sky is indeed the limit for Drew.

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