UNLIKE most graduates, when Upkar Bains finishes her teaching degree, she'll have a mortgage and four mouths to feed.
So despite not yet being qualified, Mrs Bains, a student ambassador at Monash University and mother of four, is paying close attention to the pay negotiations between the state government and the Victorian teachers.
In an effort to get some answers about the industry she'll be entering, Mrs Bains and several other students last week organised an open forum to discuss the state of teaching in Victoria.
Students from Monash campuses in Clayton, Peninsula and Berwick attended the event, which featured John Handley from the Australian Education Union and Simran Paul from Hampton Primary School.
The forum came as a bitter dispute between the teachers and the government reaches a climax.
Like many young teachers, Mrs Bains is unsatisfied with the lack of funding and the low pay educators are saddled with.
"Some of the younger teachers who have been in the industry for less than 10 years feel like if we don't voice our opinion and speak up now, it will just continue on like this and there won't be any changes made."
The forum also threw out any misconceptions students had about the industry. "A lot of people think being a teacher's about playing with kids and having holidays," she says.
"If you want to get into this industry, you've got to have a real passion for doing it."
While she's yet to decide whether she'll be going to the strike at Rod Laver Arena this week, Mrs Bains says she won't be reconsidering her career choice. "I've worked in childcare before coming to uni. I have a bit more experience.
"It's just something I'm passionate about. The course is definitely something I want to do."