For some students graduation is a day of celebration that all the sleepless nights, social and financial sacrifices and early lectures are all over, but for me, it was so much bigger than that.
I finished highschool in 2008, and when I finished boy did I leave with a ridiculously low OP score! I remember getting that number in the mail and unveiling what was to become the monkey on my back for many years to come. I was so ashamed at my failure, it became my darkest secret. Even to this day, only a handle full of people know what that OP score actually is.
My dream was to one day make it to university, but I was so afraid of being judged and rejected on my OP score that I didn’t bother trying alternatives to study. For almost four years, I was convinced that I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t until 2012, after a large loss in my family that I decided that my past wasn’t going to define me. Instead, I was going to bounce back and I was going to bounce back hard.
In 2013 I enrolled myself into a Diploma of Marketing at Southbank TAFE which had the bridging course into the Bachelor of Business at QUT. Once I received confirmation that my enrolment into the Bachelor of Business(Marketing)/Bachelor of Media and Communication was accepted, I was beyond words. That to me was an achievement in itself.
At that point, I thought to myself, “If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this right”. So, I did some research into what I needed to do to achieve distinctions. Once I found out what I needed to do, I set my goal and there was no looking back. Throughout my studies, I did the hard yards and always put 110% into all my assignments (even the ones I didn’t enjoy).
Fast forward to graduation day, and like I said, what a bigger day than anticipated. As I approached the standing mark on the stage I heard my name get called out, along with the words “with distinctions” for both of my Bachelors. It was the icing on the cake for me. All the negativity and self-doubt that had followed me around like a shadow for all those years had evaporated in that moment. It was the moment that I also came to realize that whatever it is (big or small) that I want to achieve, I will.
So, if you’re reading this and think to yourself “I wish I could do that” or maybe even questioning your ability to achieve what I have, then don’t. There are so many people in this world that let themselves be defined by their past, but you don’t have to be one of them.
Back yourself. Because if you don’t, then who will?