As someone who loves card stock and printing embellishments I can’t help but feel a little bit cheated that business cards are a thing of the past. Is a 400gsm textured card stock, blind emboss and opportunity to have my own American Psycho moment with inferior card exchanges too much to ask? I guess the modern day equivalent to that would be show boating on LinkedIn, which is almost a prerequisite for the platform 

I’m preparing to start my new job which will include updating my LinkedIn, as I’m on my page a couple of things are evident; there is no shame in the self promotion game and my career timeline reflects a seamless progression of roles based on time and skills acquired. Now I’m preparing to move into the public sector, it’s wild for me to think that I spent just shy of 9 years in property development aka my entire career to date in a sector and profession that I didn’t know existed in high school.

That’s correct, I had no idea what property development was nor what marketing/ communications entailed. 

The closest thing that I would have compared it to would be real estate agents and journalism, but that’s definitely as far as it would have gone. I had no idea of the diversity in either, how comprehensive they both are and how I could leverage skills and knowledge to build from. The idea that you could go to university for these things just went well over my teenage head. The same teenage head that in 2010 dropped out of high school in year 11 to take up administration work in the industrial area of Minto because I simply didn’t think school was for me. 

Shortly after in 2011, I decided to go back to high school, after meeting with the deputy principal I was informed that I had missed too much of the year 12 curriculum and if I wanted to sit my HSC I had to repeat year 11. Fixated on getting my high school certificate and not aware of other perhaps more suitable options to me at the time, I agreed. Returning back to Robert Townson in the year below you would think I would be laser focused and committed, wouldn’t you? That I was! For about one term. The motivation began to fade again and the feeling of this system not being right for me came creeping in.

Todd, myself, my best friends Emily, Jacqueline, Adrian and year 11 high school friends in 2010 at Robert Townson High School.

The class of 2012 graduation comes around and I leave with an asterisk instead of an ATAR score and confirmation that university definitely isn’t for me, or atleast right now. I know it seems like a lot of time and effort to waste, doesn’t it? 

I had plans to go back to receive an ATAR to go to university to become a journalist. I think at that age, most kids tend to get a steer for their career prospects from their parents or teachers. But mine came from receiving compliments at a wake for delivering a “beautiful eulogy”. 

When I decided to leave school at 16 I’d say the general theme for friends’ reactions was indifference, it was common so no one really made a big deal about it. The only adverse reaction I can recall from a friend was Todd, the words “fucking stupid” come to mind when I try to recall his response. Which is ironic, because he inevitably served as the catalyst for me deciding to go back to high school. 

We both were sixteen at the time, he was murdered and I delivered the eulogy at his funeral. 

He was incredibly bright, but not in the straight lace, teachers’ pet sort of way. More so in the sense that he was laser focused on what he needed to do to excel and didn’t concern himself with the thoughts or ideals of others. He was on track to graduate in year 12 whilst simultaneously completing a traineeship with Qantas. He took his education seriously, hence his clear expression of disappointment when I said I was dropping out. 

Todd and Ali doing the absolute most and bare minimum in woodwork.

I was walking around a sports community hall in Kearns, constantly trying to register that I was at my friends’ wake. Guests continued to approach me throughout the afternoon to offer their comfort and for lack of better words “praise” for delivering the eulogy without a quiver and for the words written on the leaflets. It was on this day that I made the snap decision to return back to school to become a journalist. 

There was a sense of shame within me that I felt being at the wake of someone who was actively working towards their future, and who held my best interest when I just couldn’t see it for myself. I had an innate pull to commit to doing something that I believed held merit, because it was now evident that my privilege at that point was just simply being alive. 

I don’t often stop to think and reflect, I’m usually too consumed about what is happening or the immediate next step. Working in a diverse industry and line of work I’ve spent a lot of time oscillating between various options. Do I want to stay in property development, maybe hospitality would be a better fit, or go full ball and live agency life, being my own boss sounds nice (terrifying) maybe freelancing is the way to go? 

Twelve years later and things are starting to make sense and fall into place. Working in various marketing and communications roles has allowed me to confirm that writing and communications strategies are areas where I want to spend most of my time and actively using these skills to focus on the betterment of educational outcomes for predominantly young people is what I want to spend my days doing. 

I often think about the environments I was surrounded by growing up and how they shape and dictate the future of young, impressionable people and how education and policy reform can directly impact this. Not just in school, but in the way that students see themselves and what is attainable for them. I believe this informs not only the way they act in school, but how they manage themselves in their social and spare time. 

Straying from the norm does not mean you’re less capable, deserving or able. For so long we have spotlighted specific industries and the approved way to get there. For so long we have projected our ideals and shortcomings to the up and coming. Encouraging, pushing and incentivising them to do the same, or face a bleak future. 

The reality of it all is that we set out to create these grand plans for ourselves, sometimes overly influenced by others, but one thing we consistently forget to factor is the fragility of life and the unpredictability of it all. If you ever find yourself at a crossroads deciding on whether university is for you, or whether or not you find your job to be fulfilling I hope you are able to find a way to what you want and don’t find yourself entangled in the irrelevant background noise. 

To my friend Todd, may you forever be a driving force behind every bullish attempt I try my hand at, life may be fleeting but I hope to continue moving through this world embodying our similarities of a one track mind and painfully relentless attitude

Esther, Todd and I at the last party we were ever at together.

Skye Tito

Author Skye Tito

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