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Why you should make friends with admin staff

Making friends with administrative staff at university can give you new opportunities you didn’t know existed.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from my undergraduate degree was not non-linear dynamics, or even behavioural neuroscience, or 20th-century harmony. It was that within most degrees there is plenty of room for freedom – but to exercise it you need to read the fine print and know the right people.

The regulations for your degree are clearly outlined upon enrolment. You will need to make sure that you pass the relevant number of units within certain categories. However, what I discovered was that beyond the “standard” academic pathway within the degree, there is often a little room for movement. And all you really need are friends in high places – and by that I mean the administration team.

Never underestimate how influential administration staff are within the university. They are the ones with access to the relevant professors and those higher up the hierarchy who are often required to approve anything out of the ordinary. My undergraduate degree was not ordinary.

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