Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The "Big Day"...and no, I'm not married!!

This post is a little late, sorry about that! Life's been pretty crazy!  As most of you will know, I graduated from Uni just prior to Easter.

Through all the excitement that was deciding I needed a new outift, shopping for the perfect outfit, then realising new shoes were a non-optional extra...after all that, I decided, I had the perfect handbag at home...so bag shopping wasn't essential. Funny though, I adore handbags (some people say FAR too much)...and it was the only thing I didn't purchase new for the occasion!!

After the perfect outfit was safely hanging in my wardrobe, I got to thinking about what this meant for me. Now, I mean beyond the hype of graduating from University and being thrown out into the "Real World". I mean, what it truly means for me to be able to say I've graduated uni.

There were times I thought I'd never get through it. I was struck down with poor health at the beginning of my final year. This meant I cut my workload from Fulltime study to Part-time study for one semester, and then, sadly, had to defer for a semester. So you can see the entry of doubt. Was I ever going to finish? Was this all a huge mistake? Have I wasted a whole year doing something that was destined not to go anywhere?

I'm glad to say, those doubts are long gone because...

I have my degree!!! Hanging on my wall!! I'm looking at it right now actually!!!

See that? That's my uni degree which is hanging on my hot pink wall! Now that is the result of all that hard work. The blood, sweat and tears. Although, come to think of it, I don't think there was any blood shed over that degree. But there was definitely times I sweated it out...and at times, there were most definitely tears.

Anyway, back to Graduation day. Here is the day in pictures.
My Dad and I outside the hall

Time to leave mum & dad in the Foyer & go get my gown and cap!


All graduated!

And now to enter the "Real World" and, for the first time in my life, not be classified as a student!! This is all new territory, but hey, it's been a fun and exciting adventure so far!! Let's see what happens next!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lessons are taught by the most unexpected teachers.

Today on the way to work, I got talking to the elderly couple who sat next to me on the train. This in itself is unusual as I’m usually listening to music (or napping).  But, this couple (who shall be referred to as Mr & Mrs K) seemed so sweet and it was actually Mrs K who started the conversation, so I obliged and chatted with them.

Turns out, Mr & Mrs K go back a long time. They met at Primary School as 6yr olds and are now still happily married in their late 80’s. It’s such a beautiful story how 2 people can be so connected from such an age and through the perils of life, keep that connectedness alive.
Mr & Mrs K were saying how they were going to a seniors concert that was on today and decided to spend the day in the city and walk by the harbour and see the views as they don’t get to the city much “these days”.

Upon arrival in the City, we exchanged “Goodbye, have a lovely day, great to meet you” and went our own ways.
The day went by as per normal, and, in the evening peak, I got on my usual train to head home. Next thing, Mr & Mrs K are getting on the same train, the same carriage and take the seat next to me…again!

I enquired about the concert (it was very good) and they enquired about my day (it was good) and we got chatting for the way home.  It was then, Mr K said something that resonated deep within me. He was saying how that when he was a boy, he’d always try to fit in with the older boys (his brother and friends) to be allowed to play football.  The older boys didn’t want him to play because he was too young and they wanted to play with their group. Mr K didn’t like this and tried to act older and act like the type of person he thought the older boys wanted to play with. Mr K’s dad took him aside one day and said “Snakes shouldn’t wear vests because they have no arms”. At first thought, that seems extremely basic and slightly silly, but, once explained it’s actually quite deep and true. What Mr K’s dad was trying to explain to him was; it’s no good trying to be someone you’re not. It’s too hard and rarely works out. Just like for the snake, a vest would be a bad idea!! It might look good at first, but it won’t stay on…or the threads would fray being dragged along the ground.
This lesson from Mr K really resonated deeply within me today. Who would have ever thought, an elderly couple who I had never met before, would say something so resonating and thought provoking…not me!! I guess this just shows that lessons can (and do) come from the people you’re least expecting. If you’re supposed to learn some lesson, it will be taught to you.

Clearly I was supposed to learn something about being myself today. And Mr K was the teacher that happened to pass on this lesson.
Elderly people are amazing teachers. They have lived their lives and have so much wisdom and experience to pass on. They have learnt the lessons, made the mistakes and picked themselves back up again. Now, in their elderly years, they have the ability to pass on that knowledge and to try to prevent us falling on our butts as much as they did.

I know it’s VERY unlikely, but, Mr & Mrs K, if you happen to be reading this…Thank you!! You are two of the most beautiful people I have had the pleasure of meeting and thank you for making such a mark on my day.  
Do you have any lessons taught by people you didn't expect? I'd love to hear about any instances total strangers have made a lasting impression.
Thanks for reading - it means the world! xx

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Here in Australia, there's an advertising campaign for skin cancer called "Dear Sixteen Year Old Me". It can be seen here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4jgUcxMezM) and talks about the ever so important skin checks for skin cancer, even at a young age. But, it inspired me and got me thinking, what would I say to my Sixteen Year Old Self if given the chance? Well, it would go something like this:

Dear 16 year old me,

Just a few bits of advice hunni. Trust me; you’ll thank me for this later on.

First, you are intelligent, beautiful and FULL of potential. Regardless what anyone else says – don’t listen. They aren’t telling the truth and it won’t do you any good dwelling over their thoughts.

Learn to love the REAL you. What I’m talking about is only starting to become apparent now, but please, don’t hide it. Embrace it. Accept it. Most importantly, love it. I do now, and wish I did then. Hiding and acting like someone you’re not won’t achieve anything. Giving you a heads up, you will learn to love it and by your 21st birthday you will know exactly what I mean.

Also, don’t take your friends for granted. Your best friend won’t be around forever (he will die 6 months before you turn 18). Enjoy his company and make it count. You have limited time. Don’t wait for your 21st to have that incredible party you and him will start discussing in a couple of months. Do it for your 17th, it’s the last chance you will get.

Once you get toward the end of your uni degree (Yes, you get into uni after highschool. Was that supposed to be a surprise? As I said, you’re intelligent and full of potential) you do go through an incredibly rough patch. You start doubting if you’ll finish your degree or not, but, never fear. You get through it. I’m not going to sugar coat it; it is hard. You will cry (many times). You will doubt yourself and you will, at some point, momentarily loose the will to fight against what is happening. But DO keep going. It does get better.

Some people leave your life quicker than they entered, but just remember, the people you need in your life will remain. But please, just do me one favour – please don’t try to stay involved with people who leave. You really don’t need them.

Just a few small things too:
- Blonde hair really suits you. Try to get that look often.
- When you start driving...don’t do any illegal U-turns (even if completely safe). They are hard to talk your way out of!!

Most importantly though – Have fun and be young before life changes.

I am so proud of you girl! The person you are, the things you do and the decisions you make...you’re amazing!! I love you.
The 21 year old you.

Even if it was possible to have a warning from an older version of me, I don't really think I'd do too much too differently. The mistakes I've made, the things I've done and the times I've fallen flat on my backside have all taught me something. Just wish I learned some lessons quicker than I did!!

What would you say to your 16 year old self if given the chance??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another year over...12 months in review

Hmmm...woah!  I can’t believe it’s the end of 2011 already!  Where has the time gone?!?!  2011 was a year mixed with some super positive atributes and some not so positive ones.  I always think reflection is good, so lets go on a journey of reflection through the year that was.
Briefly, an overview of the year that was:
Jan – June: Nothing too spectacular happened here. Defered uni during this time due to health reasons (a decision that I was miserable about for some time, but am at peace with now). Learnt alot about myself though. No studying lead to LOTS of reflecting.   I also took part in a few projects as a favour to a friend or two (had to do something while not studying!!). Learnt loads there too.
Toward the end of this period, preparations for the return to uni begun. With the last semester approaching and a compulsary internship on the program, I needed to find somewhere for the work experience. Interviews started.  Went for a few – got knocked back...didn’t let it get to me too much...Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ popped into mind here “Just keep swimming...just keep swimming...” Finally, one interviewer said yes. Well, that’s one task crossed off the list. I’ve finally achieved something. Albeit, half way through the year and already 7 months later than I had hoped – but hey, it’s an achievement none-the-less.
July – Sept: FINALLY back at uni...woohoo!! Last semester!! Holy cow!! It’s my last semester at uni...I’m nearly done!! Few months with LOADS of excitement!!  Internship also started.  That was an experience!! It started as being quite daunting but I soon found my feet and really got a grip on it. It didnt take long for the daunting feeling turn to one of fun, happiness, excitement and growth. I wont go on too long about the work experience, there’s 3 dedicated posts about the whole 13 weeks.
October: Uni is over!! OMG...say what?!?! Yep folks, it’s official. I have my marketing degree...yay go me!! The day I have been longing to come for 2 and a half years...and it’s here. Such a surreal feeling. 

Once I was done, I confided in a friend that I didn’t think I would get to this point where I could say I’ve finished my degree and, she said to me, “Fair enough, it didn’t happen in your time. But, it did happen in time. I had no doubt you’d get there in time Nat. You had some setbacks, but you’re stronger than they were”.  Say what? Me? Strong? Surely not! Well, apparently so!!  This has stuck with me.  It’s also made me wonder – why is it that there’s times in our lives where friends (who we may have known for only a couple of years) have so much more faith in us than we do in ourselves??  Just a thought I’ve pondered throughout the year.
October – December: Well, uni was over so, it was time to enter the “real world”.  Yes folks, I’m working fulltime.  Glad to report it’s still with internship company and I love my job. Couldn’t be happier with the position I managed to land myself in (digital marketing for anyone who hasn’t read previous tweets/posts).   Now, back to the present day, the last week of december and it’s still such a surreal feeling that uni is actually done.
So, that’s a run down on the progression of me throughout 2011. But, there’s been much more to this year than study and work.  I have some truely beautiful friends, without whom, I probably would have struggled this year...especially the first half.  You all know exactly who you are – Thank you guys. I love you all.
I can’t not mention 2 people who have continued to influence and shape my life this year, even though physically no longer on Earth.  My Grandad and best friend, Hamish. Neither of you saw any of 2011, but you both made such an impact in my life while you were here and this has continued even though you’ve passed.  You have both taught me lessons i’ll never forget, you’ve both shown me things I’ll always remember and you both also left lasting impressions that will never be erased.
A year of trials, successes and lessons is nearly at an end.  Now all we can hope is that 2012 is better than 2011.  Any improvement is good!!  As for me, my plan for 2012 is to continue working and gain the experience I need to further my career.  Oh, and of course I’ll be having tonnes of fun too!!
How has your 2011 been?? Has it further shaped you as a person?? Has anything major happened?? How about the thought I've been pondering - how is it that sometimes it's our friends that have more faith in us than we do?? Any thoughts??

I won't be blogging again until the new year, so I would love to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic new year!! May all your Christmas dreams come true!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

It’s not only wine that improves with age!!

It is agreed by most, that wine improves with age. Each year a particular vintage is kept in a cellar the better it will be once it’s finally opened. With my new job being in the alcohol industry, I must say, I’ve learnt alot about wine. Each vintage having it’s own distinct features and how the overall quality of the wine is influenced by the particular environmental factors during that year.
It could be said, people, to some extent, are like wine. They develop more with age. There’s no other way to say it – elderly people are tops!! Or, in the words of a Twitter friend “Elderly people are a must to have around, they keep it all real”. That is so true.  I couldn’t have said it any better myself, and, that is what got me thinking...and from my thinking, came this!! So, thanks for the inspiration lovely!!
My Grandparents for instance, my Gran, well, she is one of the strongest, amazing and honest people I have ever met.  She is my rock. She has joined me in celebrating my achievements, still being proud when I didn’t exactly achieve what I had hoped and has supported me through hard times.  We spend days together regularly and both enjoy each others company; even if it’s just sitting at her dining room table drinking coffee, eating buscuits and discussing life. Nothing extravagant but still no better way to spend time. During the time we spend together, there is only one thing (or, to be more precise, one person) missing...my Grandad!  Before he died nearly 3 years ago,he was such an intergral part of my life too.  He would fix my toys (and later in my teen life, my shoes) and he’d always have an idea to solve any problem.  Not only that though, he also shared the same support, advice and interest in every part of my life that my Gran does.
Not only Grandparents though, I was talking to an elderly Gentleman on the train the other week, just chatting to pass the time really. He was on his way home from meeting his friends from the Army for lunch, and I was coming home from work. We got talking about the work he does in advocating for retired soldiers (and also the families of those soldiers who don’t return home). Such an amazing man doing good for a cause he believes in. Some would say he does it because he is a returned Soldier himself – but, I say he does it because it’s close to his heart and something he believes strongly in. And I say well done to him!! He has all my support!!
Granted, younger people do brilliant work with charities and things too, but, elderly people just seem to have something else.  They have some sort of outlook on life that is vastly different to the younger generations. Elderly people are much less likely to generalise and segregate different people (well, most elderly people anyway. There are some who are exceptions I’m sure!). It’s this acceptance and willingness to talk to anyone that makes them such an asset to society. 
We learn many lessons though life, and, I reckon, if we all spent more time with elderly people we’d learn so, so much more!! I know personally, my Grandparents have taught me so much more than I was taught at School and Uni combined.  Life lessons can’t be taught based on a theory some guy came up with and published in some journal. Life lessons come from experience and wisdom. Afterall, “with age comes wisdom”...and so, who better to teach these life lessons than the elderly?!?!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's funny how things just 'happen'

I’m aware it’s been ages since I’ve posted something; but, if you’re one who reads my tweets you’ll know my life has been crazy busy (in a good way of course!).

Briefly, I graduated uni (finally) about 6 weeks ago now. Along with this came the end of my required work placement.  However, at this time, the company decided they’d keep me on part time so I could gain more experience and see some projects through that I saw begin. We made the part time agreement for an extra month.

So, I started applying for jobs.  What an experience that was!! Tested my decision making and my ability to trust and believe in myself.  There was one week I had 3 interviews and was offered ALL 3 jobs!! Wasn’t quite expecting results like that!! But, I turned all 3 down because they didn’t feel right.  I knew that was a huge risk.  I mean, I was turning down 3 positions without one to fall back on!! What was I thinking?!?!?!   I’m sure people close to me thought I had gone crazy!!!!  Heck, at a point I was sure I was crazy for being so sure about the kind of role I wanted.  But, I’ve always known that I do know exactly what I want and I’ll do just about anything to make sure it goes how I want it to.

Anyway, just as the end of my extra month was coming to an end (this was about 2 weeks ago now) I was offered a full time position!!!!!  I took this one.  Nothing has ever felt so right.

I love how things just seem to work out the way they should.  I was very hesitant at turning down all 3 jobs because I’m a new graduate, inexperienced (except for 13 weeks work experience) and had nothing to fall back on.  For all I knew, these 3 positions could have been the only 3 jobs I was ever offered.  And I turned them all down. Yes, I questioned whether I was crazy, yes I questioned my reasoning. Yes I thought I was aiming too high for an entry level position. But, I just knew none of those jobs were right, I knew what I wanted and none of these roles were it.  I wasn’t happy from the impression I got from the interview and didn’t want to work in an environment where I was unhappy.

It made me think though, throughout my uni degree, I hit quite a few roadblocks and the degree didn’t go entirely the way I planned (basically, went fine for the first year, then because of health reasons I dropped to part time study, then, due to health issues again, I defered a semester) so I ended up finishing 7 months later than I originally planned.

What would have happened if the course had gone to plan??
If I finished on time, would I be where I am today??
Would I be working in the company I am today??
Would I be working full time at all?? 
Would I be happier or in a less productive environment??

Who knows!! I’ll never know the answers to any of those questions. But, what I do know is, with some strange twist of fate, life seems to have straightened itself out. I’m not sure how, I’m not even entirely sure when this happened.  I sorta missed the turning point. Maybe I worked through it, maybe I slept through it, or maybe, I just didn’t see it at the time because it’s not what I wanted.
I remember at the time I decided to defer (well, decided isn’t the right word – I had no option) I was devistated. I wasn’t going to finish with my friends, I wasn’t finishing when I wanted too,  it wasn’t going how I wanted it to go and I felt like I had no control.  Even thinking that this may work out for the best wasn’t an option. At the time, this was a disaster of epic proportions.

Now though, I’m more accepting that maybe it didn’t go my way, but, maybe, just maybe, I’m better off for it. There’s possibly something I know or have experienced now that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  Or maybe, 7 months ago just wasn’t the right time for me to enter the “real world”. It’s possible I still had something to learn before leaving the controled environment that is Uni.
Whatever the reason...I’m just glad it has lead to such a positive result.  It’s funny how things just happen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Totally excited; pumped; shocked and many other things...Part 3!

This is the 3rd part of my story of my internship which I am completing as part of my last semester at uni. The first two parts of the overal story are “Totally excited; pumped; shocked and many other things!” & “Totally excited; pumped; shocked and many other things...Part 2!”

Woah! What a journey these past few months have been! As a part of my degree, I was required to spend one semester doing an internship as to get the “on the job experience” along with the theoretical study undertaken at uni.
Well, this internship is basically at an end. I have spent the last 3 months as a marketing intern and have learned so much about a whole range of things.  My marketing knowledge have expanded through the  practical experience that I have gained.

At the beginning of the internship, I had some self doubt around my abilities and was very cautious as to not make an “idiot of myself” or not to stuff up.  But, it wasn’t long until I realised I wasn’t going to really stuff up.  It was expected of me (only being an intern and student) that I was going to make mistakes, but the key thing is, that I learned from those mistakes.  I was told that they “don’t care how many mistakes I make, as long as those mistakes are followed by key learnings about what I was doing.  It was fine for me to make mistakes but afterwards I would learn about what to do or, more to the point, what not to do!
This process made me realise how much potential I do have.  With the risk of sounding like I have a massive ego (which I don’t),  I noticed how many things I could do without too much guidance and without too many explanations.  I managed to produce call centre briefs just by looking over the production notes and creative on the database and very few campaigns required me to have the campaign explained to me by my supervisor.
I also came to the conclusion I can talk alot! Given the opportunity, I can talk on a wide variety of subject areas without too much prior planning and without too many nerves.  Talking seems to come naturally (have you noticed?? LOL) and once I start...I keep going...and going...and going!!

From a marketing perspective, being given a hands on opportunity to actually try the job has made me realise that this IS what I want to do in my career right now.  This may change in the future, but this is what makes me happy right now.  I have seen how real organisations put their marketing efforts into perspective and learned how different aspects of marketing works in the “real world” rather than purely in a university classroom.

All in all, this internship has been so beneficial for me and I have seriously enjoyed every minute of it!! Lots of lessons learned, lots of laughs, lots of AMAZING people and lots of great experiences.
To all of you who have supported me through this, I thank you! Whether it be supportive tweets, emails or physical conversations, they have all been muchly appreciated and I am so lucky to have so many people supporting my choices.  All your support has been equally important and it has helped me through the past 12 weeks, especially at those times of self doubt.  Thank you!

This post is especially dedicated to two people who, although aren’t here in the physical world anymore, would have been right by my side all the way through this and would have supported, hugged and cheered me on everystep of the way.  Grandy; Hamish...thank you! I love you both!!

As usual, thanks for reading.  It means the world!! xx