“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey.” - Lemony Snicket.
Grab the popcorn guys this is a long one.
The past few weeks I have been hearing the university ads, you know the ones “have you got your ATAR score yet?’, “Apply now for early entry”, “have you thought about your future”. I also have a few young kids in my life who are being asked; “so what are you going to do when you leave school?”. Now back in 2008 I was in year 10 and being asked these same questions and being made to choose subjects that could potentially decide my whole future. At the time I thought I had it all figured out and I knew exactly where I was going, fast forward to 2017 and my plan defiantly went off course.
I thought I would write about my experience from school until now to maybe help someone leaving school or someone who is just a little lost right now or even parents who are worried about where their child is heading.
Let’s go back to 13-year-old Rochelle in 2006, back to when I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I know what you’re thinking a Marine Biologist to a PT, I told you it’s a long story. The reason I chose this path was because I love the ocean.When I was in year 10 I was told I will need to start picking my subjects for year 11 and 12 that would help me become a Marine Biologist and decide my career. Anyway, I didn’t really want to do exams which meant I wouldn’t get an ATAR score and my school actually thought I wouldn’t cope with it, which turned out to be a blessing. I found a different pathway to get into Uni and decided to do mainstream studies.
I began year 11 in 2009 and one of my subjects was Media. That one subject changed everything. I fell in love with Media, in particular marketing and advertising. My teacher at the time Miss McDonlad showed me a whole new world and “my dream” of being a Marine Biologist went out the window. My new dream job was to be a Marketing and Advertising Consultant. For the next 2 years of school, I worked my ass off to get the grades I needed and graduated with great scores and awards. With me still not getting an ATAR, I had to get into university a different way, this meant applying to TAFE.
I began TAFE in Feb 2011 where 5 months later I left with a cert IV in Marketing and an acceptance letter into Murdoch University to start mid-year studies. In June of the same year, I started my first day at University doing a double major in Marketing and the Media, I also got my first part- time job at JB Hi-Fi. My first 6 months went ok until exam period came, 2 days before my first ever exam my dad was rushed to the hospital. Concerned, stressed and distracted I failed 2 out of 4 exams, and shortly after this I was given the devastating news that my dad was dying and had maybe 12 months left. After this, I began to hate Uni, I was the person that showed up in jeans, ugg boots and a beanie and sat in the corner uninterested. I then became a home owner at 19 with my partner and though exciting and a huge achievement, life became even harder.
I then decided it was time to do more and I applied for a junior marketing consultant position with a company and starting studying online. At this point in time, I was working full time, studying full time, owning a house with a mortgage and living with the thought of not having my dad for much longer. But I was ok, I was finally starting my career as a marketing consultant and met a HR manager named Danny, still to this day he mentors me and gives me all the advice in the world. Well, 2 months into my “dream career” I hated it. I came home most days crying, I was being bullied by two grown women and I was bored. Also in the 6 months of being in this position, my dad passed away in November 2013. I was lost, heartbroken and I couldn’t believe how much time and money I wasted to get to a career I hated.
In 2014 I made a change, I thought well I like health and fitness and had just come from my own weight loss mission and a business idea came to mind and I knew exactly where I wanted to be. I shoved my feelings down, got back up and applied for a gym manager position with no qualifications in fitness, but a sales and marketing background and somehow by the luck of the warrior gods, I got it.
I was still studying online full time in my Double major and I finished up in 2014 and deferred, 3 years on I still haven’t gone back. I was a manager of a gym and thought I better become a PT and I started studying at AIF, this was a big mistake. If you are ever thinking about going here, do your research first. No one can get their qualification in 6 weeks. I had a year to do mine with online studies, I had no help and I finally let myself grieve for my dad, I needed him to tell me it was going to work out but I didn’t have him and instead of facing reality I failed, told no one I had failed the course and instead I ran away to Europe for 6 weeks.
Coming back to Australia, I told my mum what happened and I knew I couldn’t do this anymore, I couldn’t just keep giving up and changing things and running away. Obviously, the world thought the same thing when David from AIPT walked through my office door. I signed up to AIPT and became a qualified PT in April 2016.
In 2016 also started at a new gym and begun my little business dream that is still slowly but surely growing, I am still with the same partner I bought my little house with 4 years ago and we get married in just a month. Life has gotten easier and I have taught myself to be happy with my achievements and failures. I am 23 now and if I could go back and tell 13-year old me anything. It would be "please don’t stress about life's big decisions before they arrive, take each day as it comes and celebrate achievements, failures and triumphs, learn to grieve, forgive and let go of anger because it will all work out"
For anyone in school now or you are just lost and trying to figure out what the hell you are are doing, take a note from Roman Atwood “Do something you love, and you will never work a day in your life”. Parents, don’t force your kids to do anything, encourage them to take chances and if they fail, be there to catch them. If my mum and dad hadn’t been as understanding with me as they have been and let me change my mind and support me time and time again. I would be a Marine biologist on a boat, not here talking to you, being 100% happy. You can be and do anything you want and you have plenty of time to figure it out.
Until next time, be fearless.