What does life look for you now?
I have found myself in Torquay on the Surf Coast of Victoria. I needed a sea change after living in Melbourne for a few years. I am about to complete my masters in Gestalt psychotherapy, a 5 year journey, so I am looking forward to putting my training into action. It's been a long haul! I used to be a teacher, a profession that took me to some amazing places, most notably the Kimberley in Western Australia. I spent 4 years up there in remote Aboriginal communities and I returned with a new found and deep respect for Australian Indigenous culture and people. Study has been my priority the last 5 years so my jobs have been an interesting and eclectic mix, from residential care worker, to nursery hand, casual teaching and working in vineyards and wineries. My current role is one of the best jobs I've had. I look after the Indigenous students at Geelong College who are on scholarships and who mostly come from remote places around Australia. I love the students I work with. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role is seeing them bring their own culture into the school, and each time seeing the school community embrace and learn from it with openness and appreciation. I think this is symbolic of Australia as a whole being finally ready to embrace our incredible Indigenous culture, and infuse and integrate it into the dominant western culture we exist within. New Zealand is a great role model for us!
Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Radford or now?
I would have to say the Crash, H and Leyshon combo back in the early 90s at Radford was inspirational for me. I loved the plethora of Outdoor Activities trips we went on, where Crash and H would create song booklets, with mostly ABBA songs, and mixed tapes so we could sing and dance our way through the journeys. John Leysh would do most of the driving and complaining while Crash and H lead all the singing and dancing at the front of the bus for hours on end. The jokes were endless. Crash took so many photos and I do believe this is where I get a lot of my passion for photography from. In all of my years of teaching in many different schools I have never come across teachers quite like Crash and H. Total legends.
How easy was it to decide what to do in life?
For me, the decisions I have made in my life beyond Radford have always been easy as I have always chosen the things that have interested me the most at the time. I chose to do a Dip Ed after my science degree as it meant that I would always have a job when I needed one and this has served me well over the years. We were always taught to choose a career and stay in that career until we retired. This paradigm just didn't resonate with me at all so I didn't follow it. I think it's different these days anyway. I chose adventure and discovery of this great world instead of a set career! I am in my 9th year of study now and I am excited at the prospect of actually beginning a set career in my old age. I know that every experience I have had up until this point will inform my practice as a psychotherapist and hopefully my colourful past will help me to help the humans I work with.
Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?
No. I never planned that my life would go this way. I think planning is good to a point but I also think that sometimes it can suffocate creativity and spontaneity which are two things that keep life fun, vibrant and enjoyable. I love to let myself just sit back sometimes and see what emerges for me. I have had some incredible life experiences doing things this way and I am a better person for it. I don't own a house though!
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?
Nothing. You can never really know anything until you've experience it for yourself.
What advice do you have for current students?
Don't get caught in having to know exactly what you want right now. Life is a journey, just let it unfold and follow the things that make your heart beat faster. Always go for a challenge because the more we step out of our comfort zone the bigger our comfort zone gets. Definitely get educated and skilled. Get to know every type of human, listen to the stories of others and travel, travel, travel in your younger years! It's more fun. Sometimes you do need to take a job just for the money but don't do this forever because there'll come a day when you regret it. Do always have a savings account though, that you can't touch for 10 years. Ultimately, just be you.
Anything else that you would like to share?
Radford was a great school. My education there gave me the confidence and ability to choose what I wanted for my life. I hope it does the same for all current and future students. My dad always said that education gives you keys to unlock doors in your life, I think he is right. And I hope one day Radford has their own Indigenous student program!