Early Career Choices: What Would You Have Done Differently?

I had the good fortune to attend an Advantage SA Speakers in Schools training this week.

The topic: How to engage secondary school students when speaking about potential career paths

The inimitable and popular media identity Leigh McClusky (McClusky & Co) well known as the former host of Channel 7 Adelaide’s Today Tonight facilitated this training workshop. Leigh shared valuable tips and insights that I will integrate into future chats/chinwags with the kids. Notice the informality and use of vernacular in the second half of the preceding statement?

That was my first take away from the training and a great reminder that I am no longer presenting my latest research at a medical science conference (the unspoken is that I am ready to defend my hypothesis based on my water tight statistical analyses) but to connect heart to heart, human to human.

This point was brought home when Leigh got all the participants to write a letter to the 16 year old version of ourselves given what we now know. Ah, the benefits of hindsight.

Dear 16 Year Old Me,

I would encourage you to spend more of your time understanding that being comfortable in your own skin is the secret to a successful and happy life.

I would have you not spend all your free time doing physics, chemistry, double maths homework because your identity then was predicated on academic achievement.

That you would twig that this approval by achievement syndrome that got inculcated in your psyche is based on an archaic education system deliberately designed to produce hard working, compliant albeit financially illiterate drones.

Do not let what you do define who you really are.

I would have you go on a journey of self discovery, and to understand that the essence of you is perfection; your indestructible spirit is pure beauty. That you learn from your attempts at doing and that there is no shame in not hitting your target.

Failure is over rated and a label used by some people who would rather see you not succeed. Their irrational thinking is that if you do well, it means they have to get off their bums and do something productive with their lives too. Go figure. Do not get upset but feel compassion for them.

Finally, I would have you look yourself in the eye everyday and say aloud “I am enough”.

Much affection,
Present day Me.

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