Amy: Be the hero of your own story
Amy has recently completed a double Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business, and has been awarded a USQ Faculty Medal. She enjoys cosplay and has a tendency to relate everything to movies.
Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a darkened cinema watching the movie of your life unfold on the silver screen.
Ask yourself: is your story Oscar-nomination material, or is it the kind of movie where you walk out early and the last lingering spectator is the guy vacuuming up popcorn?
Several years ago when I first tried this thought experiment, I realised my life was missing a key ingredient that every good story has: an active protagonist. My problem wasn’t a lack of aspiration or opportunity but, rather, that I didn’t pursue them with the ‘hero’ factor.
CUT! It was time for a new direction.
Since then, I have learned one important lesson: courage builds confidence. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes work and determination to practise courage, but if you stick with it, good things happen.
Act I - Courage and confidence at university
Enrolling in a double degree at USQ was a major plot twist.
Gone were the safety nets of high school – my life became more about taking risks and overcoming my fears. Every day I would meet different people, learn to think and speak for myself and try to manage my increasingly busy schedule. This new independence was a big change, and if you are in the same boat, you’ll know that it takes a lot of courage to stand on your own two feet. But that’s where your supporting cast come in! Your quirky sidekick (best friend), love interest (partner), or wise old kung-fu master (mentor) are there to give you encouragement and support, which makes it easier to challenge yourself in other areas.
And remember, the more you practise courage the more your confidence will grow!
Act II - Industry superstars, confidence and project work
Here’s another bit of advice: while you are studying, take opportunities to mingle with the superstars in your industry. These include staff, peers and external professionals. Their expertise will inspire and motivate you, help you build your skills and expand your career horizons.
Project work is a great way to make these connections. It is much easier to approach people when you have a goal or request, and in my experience, members of the community are eager to lend a helping hand.
Let me share an example. I recently undertook a year-long project as part of my double degree, and one of the assignments required me to seek professional critiques.
Wait, whaaaat?! Who would want to help me? Especially amazingly talented strangers with busy careers?!
My initial response was to shrink back inside my tortoise shell. You guessed it – I needed to exercise some courage.
I needed mentors and I had no idea where to start. The safest option was to contact a friend of a friend whom I had never met. I timidly reached out to him and, to my surprise, he agreed to help me.
More than that, he actually introduced me to one of his colleagues, an internationally acclaimed artist from the UK!
Act III – The climax and resolution
Hopefully you can see my point. Even small measures of courage can lead to valuable opportunities, new friends and the confidence to face future plot twists.
So I implore you to try this for yourself. Become a spectator and critic of your own story. If you find yourself yawning, don’t give up and walk out. Take a chance and challenge yourself. Have courage and build confidence.
The rewards are worth it and you never know how far they could take you. #UnleashYourFearless
For more information about how uni could increase your confidence, contact our SRO team.