I have recently commenced as a Paramedic with Ambulance Victoria back in my home town of Horsham. From time to time, I also pick up casual nursing shifts in the local Emergency Department. After gallivanting around the other side of the world for a few years, I’ve finally settled down… for now anyway!
I reminisce on my time at College as some of the fondest memories of my life. When I think of my stint there, I genuinely smile. Every day I would rock up and hang out with my friends, and was challenged by the ‘big kids’ (commonly known as teachers) to achieve more than I thought I was ever capable of. The friendships I made at College continue to be some of the longest and strongest I have today. Second to my mates, the relentless encouragement and high hopes instilled by my brilliant teachers were the next best elements of my College experience. I loved that their expectation of me was to get involved with everything and have a real crack; this forced exposure gave me no choice but to be challenged and, consequently, flourish.
I often ruminate about my time in the boarding house – an endless slumber party with just enough structure. It was only one semester, but, at the time, it was absolute heaven! My time on King Island was also something I was privileged to experience. As a 14 year old, living in a house with five girls for nine weeks, undertaking classes that included sailing, hiking and camping – this experience was one like no other. Safe to say that I have many fond memories of College life.
Throughout my time at College, I was encouraged more than at any other time in my life. The people I interacted with day-to-day actually cared whether or not I got involved, did the work and ultimately reached a level that fulfilled my potential. As a result, I played more sport than I thought I could handle; I stepped on stage with no clue about singing, dancing or acting; and, academically, I had the opportunity to do anything I pleased by the time I finished.
All of which I thought was beyond my realm of possibility when I wandered through the gates on my first day as a shy-ish Year 9 student. But, more importantly to me, my peers and my teachers cared if I was a good person. I quickly learned to appreciate the College community and knew my place in it was entirely dependent on the contribution I made. At the time, I just did what made me feel good, but, in hindsight, I was learning that the more I aimed to enrich the lives of others, the more I would improve my own. Win-win, right!
I’m not saying I’m a saint by any stretch, but this value certainly influences most of my life choices. And, despite this life lesson probably not coming to full realisation until recent years, I believe this is one of the strongest values I gained from my schooling at College. I am very aware that my time at College was one of the most influential aspects on the path I’ve taken in life. As I recently celebrated 30 years of watching, learning and growing, it’s amazing to think just how extensively the people, the opportunities and the experiences over my four short years at College have contributed to where I am, what I have done and who I have become – all of which I am very proud of.