Joanna is still discovering what is next for her
Finishing high school
To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do after school. I had a lot of different ideas in my head, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a teacher, a nurse…I was swapping and changing my ideas all the time. That’s why I ended up doing a Health Science degree, because I thought it would broaden my options.
Straight after year 12, I had a gap year, the plan was to travel which didn’t really happen. So instead I just stayed in Apollo Bay, working, and had a pretty cruisy year.
After my year off, I went to uni at Deakin Geelong. Health Science is a really broad degree, kind of like an arts degree where you choose the topics or areas that interest you. My majors were health promotion, family, society and health. I studied that for three years and then I graduated.
I thought by the time I finished uni, I would know what I wanted to do. But I graduated from my course and still had no idea. So I started applying for jobs in a hospital. I worked as a cook in a hospital because I thought this would be a good way to get my foot in the door. Then I started applying for some community care and activities roles in aged care, so I could see more of the hospital and what it was like. Unfortunately I had to leave this due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the rest of this year I’m going to work as a nanny and cleaner. Next year I hope to travel to the Northern Territory to work with Indigieous communities up there. The plan is to try a few different roles, hopefully get more of an idea of what I can study, and maybe even find out a bit more about myself.
Don’t start courses because you feel you should
My advice to other rural young people is to keep your options open and don’t feel any pressure to go and apply for things if you don’t personally have a strong interest in it. There is so much pressure from schools and parents and everyone around you, to go straight to uni. I think it’s more important to keep your options open and try different things first, maybe do a small course before you commit to something long term. It’s important to try different things.
I know for myself, I finished my course and it was a bit overwhelming, because I still didn’t really know what was next. Like if you study nursing you know you’re going to be a nurse at the end of it, but with a course like mine you’ve got to be open to anything. I think that’s important to consider for every pathway.