By Dominique Quitoriano
Student services provide a wide range of assistance to students in all areas of professional and personal development including (but not limited to) orientation, study pathways and / or management, student events, financial advice, procedures and policies, applications for support, graduation through to mental health, supporting those with disabilities, complaints and referrals to community services.
With such a big task, there are teams that exist at each SAE campus.
Toni Lunavich is our expert and representative from the Student Services team.
Toni is the team coordinator at SAE Byron Bay. She is also studying to complete an MBA. We caught up with her to discuss her passion for people and music.
What’s your background?
I went straight into the workforce after high school. I recently returned to studies to complete my MBA.
Share a hobby or a passion of yours
Music is my one true passion. Whether I’m listening to it or playing it – I play piano and guitar – it’s what makes me the happiest.
Where is the first place you would visit when overseas travel resumes?
Definitely the UK to see family and friends.
Who inspires you?
Hans Zimmer. He’s my idol.
How does your role interact and engage with students at SAE?
I’m always readily available on campus to meet with any and all students. They all know where I am, and I enjoy my opportunities to stop, chat, and help them all out whenever I can. It’s a great part of my job.
What are some of the qualities you bring to students?
I’ve been a student myself. I know what they’re going through. So I like to think I bring empathy and understanding. I’m also able to provide that extra layer of help and support in addition to that which is provided by faculty and other members of staff.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I enjoy the diversity. One minute I could be working on a new process or procedure, the next I could be in a studio helping out a student with a project. The role caters perfectly to my creative side and the professional ‘more business oriented’ side.
Can you offer any advice for students seeking to gain employment or work placement opportunities?
Preparation is key! For eg. When I applied for my role with SAE, I researched the organisation, the role, and the skills required. I also re-evaluated my own skillset and experience. This allowed me to speak confidently during my interview. Also, know your craft and build your network.
Do you have any advice on how a student can improve their problem-solving skills?
I think the key to any kind of problem-solving is first to understand the issue. I recommend a methodical, process-driven approach. Identify the problem to be solved, research its various constituent parts, explore potential solutions, consult with those affected by it, then make the best decision you can base on evidence.
What advice do you have for new students on how they can set themselves up for success for studying at SAE?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Studying can be hard and it takes commitment. Everyone learns at a different rate and in different ways.
Be kind to yourself. And don’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask for help. Asking questions doesn’t mean you can’t do something. It’s the exact opposite. It’s a sign that you want to learn, you want to understand, and you care enough to find answers. So there’s no such thing as a silly question!
We learn through questioning (and failing). So the sooner we’re able to accept this, the quicker we can move on and grow.