Attending university was always in my cards; it was a right of passage that I never wanted to stray from, something that I always wanted to achieve. I can remember being in my first year of high school and making the conscious effort to choose electives that I thought would further my possibilities of getting accepted into a very particular degree at a very particular university. For the entirety of my high school journey I upheld my educational goals whilst endeavouring into exciting, new educational pursuits. The outcome was a place in the Queensland University of Technology’s Interactive and Visual Design and Business dual bachelor’s degree; the degree I had been striving for all along.

I progressed through a four year Bachelor’s degree and graduated in December 2017; I was the happiest woman alive. Those four years had been the most mentally exhausting years of my life, but they were not over yet. I had realised that my persistence with education steamed from a deep appreciation of continuous learning. We, as humans, have the everlasting capability to broaden our breadth and depth of knowledge, and with this knowledge we have the competency to influence others and to help change the world. This revelation of mine prompted me to continue my tertiary education even though I was employed full time as a travel consultant.

I commenced my Postgraduate Certificate in Tourism, Hotel and Events Management with the University of Queensland in February 2018, and I am so incredibly proud of myself to have the ability to say that I officially graduated today! Those four years of my Bachelors degree were a walk in the park in comparison to the year of 2018.

In 2018 I saw myself step foot into a brand new exciting and equally stressful career where I worked 40 hour weeks. Among this I had decided to take on postgraduate degree part time; my weeks consisted of being at work for 5 days, attending university every Friday, and spending the one day I had off studying. I couldn’t count the amount of times I cried myself to sleep. Through the tears, the gained weight and the constant exhaustion, I did learn a little more about myself.

I learnt that I am quite resilient; for example, that I can come home from work exhausted but continue to keep up with my readings. I learnt that I am evidently more productive in solidarity and complete silence. I learnt that my brain absorbs more information if I immerse myself in what I am doing rather than just reading words from a page. I learnt that I procrastinate heavily, and that I generally take my frustration with myself out on other people. Lastly, I learnt that no matter the circumstances, I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.

For a moment I thought I would be trapped in the year 2018. In order to graduate from this postgraduate degree, I needed to pass a hurdle exam for one of my classes, meaning that no matter the grade I received on pass assessment pieces, if I did not pass more than 50% of my last exam, I would not pass the unit and therefore, I would not graduate from my degree. I couldn’t afford to fail; the university did not run Summer semester’s for that unit, and I had a two-year UK working visa that cost me over $1000 to obtain, as well as this massive dream to live in England that had become an upcoming reality.

To my surprise, I received an invitation to attend the University of Queensland’s tourism graduation ceremony and I will become an official UQ Alumni as of December 10th 2018! Despite the last 10 years of my life being blasted with constant stress and emotional exhaustion, I wouldn’t change a thing. If education is accessible, I will always encourage others to pursue it. You’ll learn not only about your field of study, but you’ll mostly learn about yourself. With this knowledge, you can tailor your life to fulfil your goals and dreams, but you’ll also be armed with learnings to pass onto the people you encounter.

For now, I’m taking a well deserved break from university study. I’m moving to England in February to live the life a 22 year old should be living; away from the piles of textbooks and journal articles. Nevertheless, I’ll be teaching myself to speak German in my free time, and maybe, just maybe, when the time is right, I’ll go back to university to undertake my Masters degree. We’ll see what the future holds.

Racquel Hardie
Racquel Hardie

A twenty-something Aussie woman passionate about travel and documenting everything.

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