Beginning year 12 is a scary thing, it’s the year you’re told about from day one at high school, this big important time that will help you decide the rest of your life. At least that’s what I was told when I first began. And while it is a significant year in a young person’s life, by no means is it the year where you need to have your whole life figured out.
Looking back, I would have done high school a little differently with what I know now, being that those university degrees you number from one to ten and that email you wait anxiously to receive with an offer, are just the beginning. I personally had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (I’m still making up my mind!) so I picked the broadest degree I could and threw myself into university life.
It was about a year and half into my double degree of business and arts that I realised I wasn’t enjoying it. People would ask me ‘where do you want to go with that?’ and in my head I would freeze and think, I wish I could tell you. So, I decided to take a break from the mindless studying and focus on my job at the time.
Flash forward two and half years later and here I am at Little Dreamers HQ, completing my first placement for a bachelor of youth work and youth studies – and absolutely loving it. In my time away from university I travelled, applied to the Victoria Police, returned to university for a semester to try another course and volunteered with organisations that empower and support young people, including Little Dreamers.
Pressing pause on university gave me the time to focus on myself and volunteering with organisations that work with young people made me realise what I was passionate about. It wasn’t the straight road I thought it was going to be after year 12, and there were many times where I would feel down and my motivation would fizzle.
The important thing to remember is that time really is a luxury and to listen to your gut. If your course isn’t something you’re excited to talk about with people, maybe it’s not for you. Try another one, try two more, explore shorter courses, try an exchange program, take that gap year!
My experience at Little Dreamers is a reminder that I’m where I want to be right now, in the right course with topics that interest me and with people who want to create change for young people. At 22 years old, I’m in my first year of university and that’s okay, I might even return again someday once I’ve finished. Reaching that final year isn’t a race – if you’re doing what you love, you’re already winning.
Julia Di Salvatore