What does life look for you now?
I’m living in Woonona (20 minutes north of Wollongong) with two housemates, and I work as a music programmer (i.e. making playlists for pubs, karaoke bars, restaurants, gyms, retail spaces, etc.). I work three days up in Sydney and two from home. I try to get as much work done as possible on those days in Sydney, so that when I’m working from home, I can sneak in a daily trip to the beach. So life looks good!
What is your favourite Radford moment?
Ufff that’s a tough one. All of the school camps were pretty unforgettable, as was our year 12 revue (I got to play one of the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy makeover team). Trips to Vietnam in 2001, and NZ in 2002 and 2004… and Coasties in year 12 - we had 23 people staying in a single house down at Dalmeny! But I guess nothing topped the life-or-death handball matches we used to have just above the year 9 block, that ultimately ended when I dislocated my knee. It was totally worth it.
Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Radford or now?
Mr Walsh from the History department was the stuff of legend. There were always crazy stories going about between the students - that he spoke 7 different languages; that he used to be the head of the Australian Communist Party; that he was actually on witness protection for some reason, staying under the radar of the mafia by posing as a high school teacher in Canberra. I was a pretty cheeky and distracted student most of the time, but Mr. Walsh’s lessons used to fascinate me (even if they were a little terrifying) - he was such a passionate and deeply intelligent teacher. I remember walking through the music block once after school and seeing him play the saxophone - it completely blew my mind! Other than him, Mrs. Pacey was like a second mum to me, and Pat Craddock was someone I really looked up to. And of course I’d be remiss not to mention Mr. Huitker, for making drama the highlight of any day’s class schedule.
How easy was it to decide what to do in life?
I was still studying almost ten years after leaving Radford, which says a lot. These days, a midlife shift to a completely different career seems to be just par for the course. So far, I’ve been a bartender, a lobbyist, a History teacher and a music programmer (alongside a bunch of other odd jobs). Who knows what’s next!
Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?
When I was a kid, I don’t think I knew that the job I have now even existed. So no, things didn’t go to plan - and thank goodness for that!
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?
It doesn’t actually matter what grades you end up with, or what your overachieving older siblings are up to (they’re both total losers now- ha!). The important thing is finding a way to enjoy whatever your teachers are making you do. These days, I’d LOVE a random excuse to learn about photosynthesis, or how to make a pencil case out of wood, or how to ballroom dance, or what’s so important about topography and algebra (I still have no idea on that last one). You will have a long life to pursue your own specific interests. In the meantime, try and find a level on which you can appreciate everything!
What advice do you have for current students?
Train yourself to compulsively say yes to things. And every now and then, try to talk to the people you don’t normally talk to.
Anything else that you would like to share?
Just more boring advice, really - life is meant to be fun. But keep in mind that your notions of fun will change dramatically. In the meantime, stay healthy, and learn a language - obviously it isn’t that relevant to your situation right now, but one day it will make your overseas trips TEN TIMES more enjoyable.