Tom on the Creative Arts

Gunditjmara Land (Port Campbell, Victoria)
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Writing & Theatre) at La Trobe University.
Creative Arts, Hospitality

Tom’s Journey

High School

I grew up in Port Campbell, near the 12 Apostles in South-West Victoria, and went to Timboon P-12 College for my high school years. Growing up hours from Melbourne and other major towns made it very difficult sometimes. 

A lot of the subjects I wanted to do weren’t offered or clashed with each other. Theatre classes stopped in Year 10, meaning there was no VCE option. This was hard to swallow as I had heard of the option being available at metro schools. They were doing musicals, drama interpretations, small film projects – the lot. I also had to do English Literature by Distance Education, but I ultimately received an ATAR that got me where I wanted to go anyway.

Searching wider

The lack of subjects and opportunities did empower me to search wider for more opportunities and something new. I knew I had to get out of there if I wanted to make something for myself in my areas of interest. 

I was lucky enough to become a Rural Youth Ambassador with CEP in Year 11. This opportunity helped me to see that I wasn’t the only rural kid battling class clashes, subject cuts, or distance education. Seeing others in a similar position gave me another kick up the butt that I could still do what I want and do it well. It helped me find other kids who understood me and were just as inspired and determined to use their rural upbringing to their advantage, rather than seeing it as a disadvantage.

Choosing Latrobe and creating arts

Coming towards the end of Year 12, I was interested in Law, Psychology, Teaching, and Writing. For a while, I placed writing on the backburner, knowing that you don’t need a degree or certificate to be a published or well-received author. 

I went to La Trobe University’s Open Day in Melbourne. I wanted to find somewhere that reminded me of home and didn’t seem too elitist. I saw La Trobe, with all their ducks and trees within an hour out of the city, and it was a “YES!”. I also spoke to their writing and film lecturers who told me about Writing Festivals and dramatic production opportunities. This sealed the deal. 

At the last minute, I quickly rearranged my preferences to put La Trobe’s Creative and Professional Writing Degree as my first choice. Then, I got my ATAR… and my rural education came through. I placed high enough to get into La Trobe! 

Next Steps & Advice

I graduated two years ago and wrote these words from my inner city apartment. I currently work in hospitality in Melbourne’s CBD. I still don’t have a solid writing job or film commitments, but I do know one thing. 

I’m stoked that I chose the path I did and I’m so happy I didn’t give in to the pressure to follow a more conventional pathway. I still want to write and film epic YouTube shorts. The path is winding, but it is filled with the hopes and dreams that I’ve had since I was a kid. Nothing beats that.

You don’t need to pursue an option just because it is the clearest pathway or the highest paying gig. The older you get, the more you will realise you have to put yourself first. Put yourself ahead of setbacks, and any pathway can materialise for you!

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