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Rock bottom to robot coding rockstar: Meet Joel

This article appears in: Alumni stories, Changing careers, Information Technology
Student shows of robot strapped to the wrist of an onlooker

Joel Benesha is what you’d call a high achiever. During his time at CDU, the software engineering honours student has been the recipient of over ten scholarships. But things haven’t always been this way. Joel failed Year 12 and “hit rock bottom.” He talks about how he picked himself up and turned his life around.

CDU student Joel Benesha has certainly had his ups and downs. “I actually failed year 12—miserably! I didn’t see the point of anything anymore,” says Joel. But at CDU Joel is an honours student. What changed along the way?

“I was a top student in Years 10 and 11,” says Joel. “Then, in Year 12, I was working harder than the previous years. I was getting up at 5am, studying before school, at lunch, and after school, but the more I studied the worse my grades got. Then I failed the year. After that I went through a few months of just locking myself in my room. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was in next-level shock,” Joel said.

But then Joel began pursuing his spiritual side, and his outlook changed.

I saw a purpose in life. Spirituality was like a GPS, like a map of life. Everything fell into place from then on.

After a brief stint at a local IT company, Joel went into CDU’s Bachelor of Software Engineering. “I went straight into the Honours program. The course was quite well structured and I learned about the study methods that work for me. Compared to Year 12, it’s been chillaxed,” he said.

Joel is humble about how many scholarships he’s received at CDU. “I don’t like to talk about the number,” he says—but it’s more than ten. Joel has also won awards year after year at Code Fair, CDU’s digital problem-solving challenge.

Winners of Croc pitch 2019 holding a cheque
Joel winning Croc pitch 2019

“I started building robots the first year I entered Code Fair. You have to build the electrical components and the mechanical elements, then do the coding to make the robot do something. I always wanted to be a robotic engineer and I’d love to work in that field in Japan,” Joel said.

Joel Benesha holding his robot
Joel's entry into the IT Code Fair

Joel is philosophical about how he overcame the low points in his life. “The more you torment your brain with stress, the more you’re limiting its capacity. Instead, if you try to see yourself as bigger than you are, you can begin to see that nothing is impossible. It’s your life and your choice. No one else is going to get you through,” Joel added.

Ready to take your passion for change to the next level? Study IT and Network Engineering with CDU.

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