Some of the region’s well-known achievers have imparted their advice on the school-leavers about to embark on the next stage of their lives after ATAR results were published on Friday.
Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton said students who received a good ATAR should be very proud because they’ve shown “aptitude” and worked hard.
“I finished my last exam on a Thursday and I was harvesting wheat on Friday,” Mr Coulton said.
“I didn’t have a gap year, schoolies hadn’t been invented then sadly, the next thing was being a farmer and I was very happy doing so.”
He said careers and life had a way of unfolding that no one could imagine.
“When I left school, the idea that I was going to end up a member of the federal parliament was about the furthest thing from my mind.
“I’d be a great example that left school and ended up in a place that was not on their radar.
Don’t sweat it, you can’t change the results, whatever happens it’s not the end of the world, it is what it is and you move on from there.Mark Coulton
Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright said school-leavers should never turn a blind eye to opportunity.
“There is a huge amount of emphasis and a lot of pressure on students. Ultimately that result may not be the most important thing when they’re out looking for jobs in the workforce,” he said.
Mr Wright said he first gained work experience in year 10 at a bank and worked there for a week.
“It was the most boring week of my life,” he said.
“When I finished school I didn’t have a huge idea, I went to TAFE to study hospitality…I got six months through that and was approached to apply for a job at the national bank.”
He had a 10-year career with the bank before other endeavours.
“I’m 44 and I still don’t know what to do when I grow up.”
The lesson is there, don’t force yourself into a career … take opportunities as they arise and don’t be too rigid with your plans.Matt Wright
The founding director of Regional Enviroscience was awarded 2018 NSW Regional Woman of the Year among many other achievements.
Ms Duffy said the ATAR system wasn’t the only way to get a good job.
“When I finished school only about five per cent of the population went to university,” she said.
Ms Duffy said she went straight to university but wished she had taken a gap year to travel.
“I wish university was marketed that it is something you can do throughout the whole of your life, not just after school. University teaches you to challenge and problem solve, but so does working.”
This is one result in the whole of life, don’t beat yourself up.Juliet Duffy
Retired teacher and creative writer Val Clark said she needed to get a good score to gain entry to a Diploma in Teaching so she could pursue becoming a fine arts teacher.
Now retired, Ms Clark is pursuing a career as a writer.
“A degree and then a masters in creative writing has helped. The most important help, however, has been attending writing workshops presented by industry professionals, peer and family support.
I love this quote by Howard Thurman: Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. Don't make choices based on future income. Try lots of things. If you go into tertiary education treat it as an opportunity to learn what you are interested in, not what will get you a good job.Val Clark
For Legal Aid criminal lawyer Ms Bown, the ATAR was a means to an end.
“I didn’t want to do so badly that I felt stupid, and I wanted to get into a degree, but I also realised it was not a true measure of a person’s intelligence or potential,” she said.
“It’s one step along the way, and if you stumble, it really won’t matter in the long run.”
After school she lived overseas for a year and then studied and arts degree.
“People scoffed a bit about arts because they thought it was a ticket to unemployment, but I’m so glad I did it. It was intellectually rewarding, fun and interesting.
She began a journalism cadetship at the Daily Liberal before working at the Newcastle Herald.
Her work as a court reporter inspired her to go back to uni and study law.
Don’t worry! Things have a way of working themselves out. It’s trite to say so but it’s so important to just do what you love. You’ll be motivated, you’ll be good at it, and it’s the thing most likely to make you happy.Ingrid Brown
Orana Mid-Western Police District commander Superintendent Peter McKenna said he always knew he wanted to join the police force.
He said he concentrated on the subjects he needed to gain entry.
“I worked part time all the way through my last few years of school as a wedding car driver and then as a waiter.”
While gap years weren’t popular at the time, Supt. McKenna said he was glad he started his career straight away. He pursued a Bachelor of Policing later as a police officer.
Don't stress out. It is certainly important that you do your best, but at the end of the day there are many pathways into most careers. If you really have a passion for a certain career then you will find a way into it.Peter McKenna
Dubbo West Rotary pubic relations officer Lyn Smith said completing school or equivalent was important to go on to further study, a trade or the workplace.
She went straight from the HSC to university and pursued a science degree and has been busy helping communities since retiring.
Your advantage is knowing your community, get to know people, businesses and the community and you’re more likely to be in the right place when opportunities come up.Lyn Smith