I never bothered to attend Week 1.
I expected it all to be the same as last year. I was so low, I had no motivation to go. I even considered leaving before I started.
I’d always thought of myself as nothing special. I didn’t know many people at university, I’ve never had a job… and it was just too hard coming back to the world after a year off being sick thanks to that accident.
Yet, here I was, full of uncertainty against the looming darkness before me that was Bachelor of Business – International in Semester 1, 2019 at QUT Gardens Point.
“You idiot! What are you doing!?” yelled my ever-pessimistic subconscious.
Why was I still trying to jump back in?
I was ready to give up and shut down again, except… something was different. Something changed. Not even three days into Week 2 and Lady Luck sent opportunity my way. As I logged into Blackboard, going through the same old routine of the typical student, I was taken aback by what was staring back at me; my lecturer released a link to QUT Business Advantage.
I almost dropped my laptop! I had no idea what this program was about, but “Advantage” told me everything. If there was any chance of getting back out there, then this was it!
I booked into every workshop available while not knowing what I was getting myself into. “You damn fool!” – this is what I kept telling myself because everyone loves some good old anxiety, don’t they?! I decided that was it. It was time to kill this stupid negativity and put my best foot forward, so I forced myself to go meet the calm and confident Sally Dwyer, Co-Founder of Be Smart, Be Social at LinkedIn and Career Preparation.
After a slow, painful walk up a long flight of stairs (instead of taking the elevator), I met the bubbly Event Coordinator Jess Kelly. She said hi to me as if she already knew me and I instantly realised that this time I had to make things different. It was showtime.
Immediately, I was interacting with everyone in a way I never had and made my first professional connection. I was pretending to be so confident and cheerful that nothing could phase me. I guess that saying “fake it till you make it” really does work.
I learned so much from Sally I felt as if my first job would be guaranteed. After that, I attended the next session called Networking with the energetic, dramatic, outgoing Amy Jackson. She asked us what we thought people said about us in the last 12 months, and what we wanted them to say about us in the next 12 months.
I instantly got to work on that and ended up becoming known among corporate leaders and students alike, as the energetic, contagious business addict who never stops talking or is too shy to say hi. Soon enough, networking became my biggest strength. Since the first workshop, I was far more confident and energetic than I had been for the past year; I could not recognise myself. I was getting so many comments like “you are so magnetic”, “your energy just fills the room”. This feedback sent me through the roof.
I made many new connections with other top business leaders like Taro Amornched – CEO/Co-founder at Takemetour.com, Phillipe Cuellen, Stephanie Yeo, Zarife Hardy, Marvin Fox (my fellow oreo-addicted partner in crime), Jessica O’Neill from Randstad Company (who ran an interview workshop in which my brainchild – a food service for Queensland Rail trains – was born) and many more.
All these leaders taught me a myriad of skills which we cannot learn simply by attending lectures, tutorials and writing exam papers. I now have better knowledge on passing interviews, maintaining professional etiquette, the confidence to pitch in front of audiences and talk face to face with Managers, CEOs and founders of big companies. The best of all the experiences I had this past month was being able to do this with my new Business Advantage family who I will cherish for many years to come