Back when I was in high school, only the “conventional” methods of “obtaining a future” were discussed –university and TAFE– and this inherent factor to do well and succeed, because apart from those two paths, that was it and there was nothing else to do in life but study more. It somewhat scared me, thinking about life after high school– I had big dreams but I couldn’t imagine anything, my future was dark and blank in my mind, I had no idea ..
Come to the HSC– I wasn’t focused, and because of the immense pressure and expectations from all those around me, I didn’t want to care. I couldn’t take everyone planning my future for me and wanting me to conform to who they thought I should be after school– doing this course to work this job– so I didn’t work as hard as I could have but still expected for somehow everything to be okay.
My foolishness didn’t hit me until I got my marks and my ATAR. It wasn’t incredibly horrible, but it could have been better. University offers came out and I was kicking myself for not being good enough and getting into a course completely unrelated (Bachelor of Arts) to where I thought I should be, at a university far away enough that could have been in the middle of Australia. I was extremely disappointed with myself, as I’m sure my parents were too, just from the look on their faces. It was difficult for me to accept that this was going to be my future– wasting a year of my life doing some random course waiting to transfer.
There was one moment during this disappointment which glimmered hope, but in the moment I didn’t know it yet. Looking back I believe completely that it was meant to be– I caught a glimpse of an advertisement on the side of a bus of something I had never heard about before. I don’t remember the exact words now but it read somewhere along the lines of “looking for another way into UTS (University of Technology, Sydney) .. Information Technology (what I really wanted to do) .. pathway .. second year ..”
Upon conducting research I found out that I had missed out on the last information session. I was so used to being spoon-fed information and for calls to have been made for me, so for this reason I was hesitant to pursue this prospect. But time was running out, deadlines were nearing their end– I couldn’t complain nor hide away, I got myself into this so I had to at least try. After about three phone calls and needing to go into the city, I was enrolled on the spot, on the last day of enrolment and acceptance– it was like a miracle to me! I felt relieved and ecstatic for what was to come. I thought there was no more hope for me but my life was renewed with a second chance that I knew I couldn’t waste.
Fast forward, I completed my Diploma of Information Technology at UTS:Insearch and to my surprise (kind of), I got into UTS studying a double degree of Business and Information Technology. After moving onto UTS, I was taken onboard by Insearch to work as a student promotional representative and further from that, I later obtained a position working at UTS gaining invaluable experience more closely related mostly to my IT degree with also a touch of business.
By no means am I trying to sell or advertise UTS:Insearch and tell everyone that it’s for them but it was the path for me. Although for a short period of time, I had followed a different path to those of the same school cohort as me and because of it, for some reason felt at a loss, I am glad to have ventured on my own journey. My university experience is nearing its end and has gone by so quickly– I have met so many wonderful people over the last few years and formed such tight friendships. I’ve also been fortunate enough to visit the awesomeness of companies, Google and Microsoft, something which I never thought was even possible to do! From that girl fresh out of high school who was out of hope, I never imagined to be where I am today– one year away from completing my degrees and already with some experience handy in my back pocket.
I never got to go back to my high school to speak about my experiences but I would like to share what I’ve learnt along the way. It truly isn’t the end of the world not obtaining a high ATAR or the ATAR you were after. There’s so much more out there than what high school informs us of and teaches us about. It’s easy to dismiss potential opportunities that we may see or hear about because of fear, but we shouldn’t close ourselves off from it. If life after school has taught me anything, it’s that things are seldom handed to us, like they might have been in our younger years. Now, if we want something, we have to fight for it. If things don’t turn out the way we expect or thought it would, that’s okay because we all have our own paths with our own stories to tell.
Sometimes things that we thought were final –like our failures– are merely stepping stones or lessons trying to point us in the right direction. Where you came from does not define who you can become– the world is filled with endless possibilities of where our life could lead us, embrace it and do some research. Be not content with being clueless– ask around and find out about different ways and alternatives to get to where you want to be or to what you want to be doing. At least just try, because you never really know.