February 4, 2015

Dear Year 12 students

Australia Day Fashion Illustration 2015. BZ
 To my faithful readers,

I thought I'd share this post because a lovely teacher, SACE Co-ordinator and friend of mine asked me to answer some questions which her Year 12 students might have.

I hope if you're reading this that it helps, and if you ever feel it gets too much or you're lost, that you go back to the beginning and remember what it is you love and stay true to yourself and what you want out of life. B. x

 Subjects you did - were some because of prerequisites for courses?

Because Fashion Design was only taught through Tafe at the time (it now is at Flinders Uni) I had no pre-requisites, so I chose to play my strengths and pursue SACE subjects that I enjoyed and I was successful in.

They were my own version of pre-requisites to help fuel my tertiary studies and I made them work to that advantage. E.g. in Italian, for my major assignments I focussed on the history of Italian Fashion. (And last year in London I got to attend an exhibition at the V&A on just that! It was like coming full circle.) Also in Visual Arts I focussed my major on wearable art, and couture fashion. In Drama I focussed on Costume Design. I was the only student to graduate with straight A's in my year. 
Tips for getting through year 12 Challenges during the year
Australia Day Fashion Illustration 2015. BZ
You really have to be priority #1. Don't be too accomodating and sacrifice important study time because: a) your dream boyfriend wants to see you all the time, b) your casual job wants you to pick up shifts at the last minute, c) your social life just can't wait.  It can. And it will.

You get one really good shot at Year 12 and if you play your cards right and put yourself first (meaning a minimum of 8 hours sleep at night, nourishing yourself with HEALTHY food to balance cognitive performance, getting a bit of fresh air and exercise a day, and a good balance of work/play to have down time to socialize with your friends (once you've earned it and not before!).

You have to be fair with yourself and do the work. INVEST IN YOURSELF. You are your own asset to your future, the time is now.

Help available during the year

Never underestimate the support that is there within your Year 12 subject teachers. They want you to succeed, they want to know their efforts meant something and they will go that extra mile to show you that you can achieve what you set your mind to. I am so grateful for my teachers for inspiring me, it inspired me to be a teacher so I can pay it forward one day.

 What career pathway did you have during year 12?

My pathway wasn't as concrete as some, but I knew I needed to follow my strengths and passions. I knew it was either in the fashion or costume industry at the time, but I got both, and then some! It then lead on to teaching, and it may grow/change further again in future too.

There's no point pursuing a career just for a six-digit salary that leaves you feeling empty and unsatisfied. Material advantages fade in time, pick something which makes you want to get out of bed in the morning because you want to, not because you have to.

What stayed the same / changed? Why? Good change?

I hadn't anticipated I'd catch the teaching bug. It happened in my final year of Fashion Design at Tafe, when the tafe lecturers noticed my aptitude in helping struggling students to keep up with the class. I'd finish my work first, and instead of waiting around doing nothing, friends would come and ask me for help and it went from there.

The Tafe employed me as a Peer Tutor and it was really rewarding seeing my help make a difference; and especially when it's about something I love, sewing. So it was a no-brainer. I still love working in the fashion and costume industry for the State Opera company, or as a stylist on photoshoots and the occassional music video, or creative projects for myself. And I hope in future I can have the best of both.
+/- aspects of study/ life since you left school
It's funny how good study habits can still serve you well years later, ingrained into your psyche. I'm very grateful as I started Uni 5 years after finishing Year 12 (prior to that was at Tafe for 3 years, then had 2 years off to work for the State Opera). I think that academic drive that you either have, or develop in school never leaves you and has really helped me stay focussed and committed, even when the deadlines are all on the same day, or personal conflicts are happening in real life, you really learn what you're made of in Year 12 and it stays with you for life.

*I'd also like to add, (to my year 12 Italian teacher Ms Bamford) it's been 7 years since her Italian class, and last year I finally went to Italy and was STILL able to make simple Italian conversation with real Italians in Florence, Venice and Rome - which is a testament to brain synapses - the connections are all still there dormant in your mind if you need them! Tantie grazie Caroline! 

How are you finding your career journey? One key piece of advice
My journey has had interesting twists and turns, pleasant surprises, reality checks, ups and downs, but nevertheless you have to stay true to who you are and what you want out of life. Never settle. I think my journey is still only beginning, it's important to dig even deeper to find the courage to pursue your dreams and it can be terrifying, but it's more terrifying to wake up one day and realize that it's too late. And if you do, I hope you have the courage to start over again, no matter your age. It's only a number. And life's too short to not enjoy it. Carpe Diem.

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