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3 unspoken truths about changing careers

By Nicholas 02 Dec 2019
Male student holding pen and glasses with palms up

If someone said they were performing on international stages two years ago, and were now in their last year of a bachelor’s degree, you’d probably laugh it off and say, ‘Yeah right, buddy!’

This little narrative, folks, is my big reality.

Having graduated with a Diploma in Performing Arts at Sydney’s ED5International in 2012, I travelled the world working from the fairy tale stages at Tokyo Disneyland, through to London’s dynamic West End.

I had a career; I had set a clear path for myself and knew what I wanted to do with my life.

However, during this time I began to learn more about the unwavering need for strong relationships between organisations and their public. I particularly sought to understand what is required to produce successful arts initiatives and create prosperous entertainment organisations.

I made the massive decision to go back to university as a mature-aged student and study communications with nothing but some grit and determination.

Friends and family have often asked me since how I found the motivation to go back to uni and study full-time, and what persuaded me to give my career in performing arts up.

Well, if you’ve got the drive, you can go the miles. I enthusiastically applied to university and never looked back.

The resources, staff and student interaction available at USQ has constantly supported, encouraged and inspired me to pursue my goals and reach my full potential. It has been a time of growth and self-development, a time of which I am so proud.

Here are some things I have learnt upon returning to study as someone in pursuit of a career change:

1. People will question your choice.

As I mentioned, it was the people I am closest to who had more than just a few worries about my career change or ‘change of heart’. Some may see you as being indecisive, fickle or even a quitter from your former career. Although some may appear condescending in the demonstration of their concern, others may be genuinely interested in why you have taken a new direction. It is important to recognise the difference, be patient and to understand when the latter is trying to support you in your new endeavours.

2. There will be times of self-doubt.

Indeed, there were moments when I wondered if I had done completely the wrong thing. Self-doubt has plagued my mind, poking me with a big ugly stick, as if saying, ‘what on earth have you done?’ As I reassured myself many times before, I can assure you now that this is completely normal. To start a new journey is a scary thing and one that takes both courage and determination. Have faith in what you‘re doing, and know that you are only widening your knowledge. ‘Adding another string to your bow’, as my old man likes to say.

3. The only person stopping you is you.

This may sound cliché, however, if you have the urge to be educated in something you are passionate about, now is the right time! Stop waiting around wondering whether you should or shouldn‘t pursue your goals. USQ does have the resources available for constant support. You are capable. You are good enough.

As the end of my degree quickly approaches, I look back to the beginning of my study journey and feel a sense of accomplishment, pride, and motivation to keep being fearless and continue pursuing my career goals. Changing careers and returning to study has given me the tools to break down barriers I may face in the future and remind myself that whatever comes my way, I can succeed!

If you are considering returning to study or having a career change, don’t let fear hold you back. Head to USQ Social Hub to read Lisa’s top 5 tips for overcoming the fear of returning to study and learn that you’re never too old to change your career and go back to uni.

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