Jesse Swift-McNair – Charles Sturt University

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First year student Jesse Swift-McNair reckons it’s pretty cool to be one of the first students to go through the new Charles Sturt University campus in Port Macquarie.

But beyond the shiny new study spaces, the latest technology and the modern library, Jesse has found it’s the people that have made his first year at uni so enjoyable.

After studying business, economics and legal studies in high school, and completing an HSC Equivalent at TAFE in 2014, Jesse was accepted into the Bachelor of Business at CSU in 2015. He was keen to take a gap year, so took some time off to save his pennies before starting his tertiary studies this year.

A Public Relations subject in first semester sparked his interest, so Jesse transferred into a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) with help and support from CSU’s student liaison team.

“I found communications better suited my strengths, and I enjoy the writing aspect. PR really grabbed my attention, and I’m keen to learn more. I like the big picture, strategic thinking that’s involved,” Jesse said.

Jesse’s bright business mind keeps his lecturers on their toes. His pragmatic, practical, career-focused approach to study is a perfect match with CSU, which prides itself on producing job-ready graduates.

He said the communications courses were a great option for anyone interested in the media, social media, advertising, marketing, and how organisations build relationships and reputations. “You need to be a good writer, to be able to convey a message, think logically and strategically and have great people skills.”

Jesse admits the idea of university was initially daunting, as he imagined huge auditoriums and scary lecturers. But he’s found the experience studying at a regional university quite the opposite, with smaller class sizes and friendly staff and students.

“We get plenty of one-on-one time with our lecturers. It’s more relaxed than I expected and heaps of fun. There are always plenty of laughs. We’ve formed great relationships within our classes, because we do a lot of group work and help each other out. Everyone is encouraged to share ideas and contribute to our class discussions.”

Life is busy for Jesse, who is a full-time student and also works part-time. “It can be challenging to balance work, study, friends, family and relationships – it doesn’t leave a lot of free time.” Being able to stay at home has helped financially and means he is better able to focus on his study.

Jesse plans to travel when he finishes his degree, and then eventually return home to Port Macquarie to establish his career.

“Port Macquarie is getting bigger and better, and there are plenty more job opportunities opening up.”

Jesse’s advice for those considering their future career is to be open-minded and consider all the options. “You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do, but if you find something that interests you and inspires you, you’ll be on the right track.”


7:00am Breakfast while watching morning news programmes.

9:00am COM222 Public Relations Tactics Workshop. Today we were presenting in front of our classmates for an assessment, looking at different activities used in award-winning campaigns.

11:00am We all head to the café for a well-deserved coffee break.

11:30am COM232 Public Relations Strategy Workshop. As a group we worked through the online module, then looked at a real life case study and brainstormed a communications strategy.

1:30pm After a quick lunch I usually go to the library to study or catch up with classmates in the courtyard to work on a group assignment.

3:00pm Head home and get ready for work.

4:00pm Work the dinner shift at Fish and Chips at Shelly Beach.

7:00pm Home again for dinner, a bit of a break, and then some subject readings before bed.

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