‘Advice I wish I had’: Hannah Gonda, Bethia Burgess, Annie Ingram

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You’re never really ready. You’re never really 100% ready. So stop waiting to be ready. Stop waiting for that perfect moment when you’ll finally be ready, because it will never come. Even if you say you are ready… and you might be to an extent, you’re never 100% ready. There’s always a sliver of doubt that delicately slices and gnaws at the back of your mind. But your willingness to escape and your desire and love for adventure makes you numb to that pain for a little while.

From getting ready to a night out, to starting at a new school, to moving halfway across the world, you’re never really ready. There’s always that last bit of mascara or lipgloss that you could have added, there’s always a place or person you should have been to or spent more time with. So we’re never really ready. But we take a risk and say we are; we plunge ourselves forwards, welcoming the gnawing doubt. We experience new things and the doubt builds up even further for what feels like forever until it begins to quickly subside, dying away and you’re comfortable… And then you are “ready” for something new. And the doubts surge up like tidal waves, drowning out all rational thought and sweeping you over to the next experience. Life is a connection of little incomplete experiences that ultimately make us whole… And we’re never really ready. And that’s okay. – Hannah Gonda


Before I started university I wish I had been told to keep an open mind about what career I might want when I graduated. I studied law, and I graduated at a time when law firms across Australia were feeling the pinch of the financial crisis. Graduate jobs were at an all-time low, and my peers and I were suddenly faced with the realisation that our qualification wasn’t enough anymore; we had to stand out.

With those prospects in mind, I realised that I didn’t want to work in a commercial law firm, and pitting myself against students who actually did want this wasn’t the right thing for me to do. By that stage, thinking about alternative career options seemed like a daunting task, and it was more through luck than anything else that I have wound up on the right track to my ideal career. If I had been told to think of my skills and interests more laterally, I might have had more of a head start, and I would have avoided a lot of the stress and worry that comes with entering the workforce without a clue about you want your future to hold. – Bethia Burgess


Stop stressing. What you do at university or in the early stages of your career, and especially how you do in year 12, doesn’t define the rest of your life. Work hard, but hurry slowly. You will be working for a long time. You don’t have to achieve everything you want in the first five years.

Chances are, positions that are perfect you may not even be known to you yet. So many of the people that I would consider most fulfilled in their positions never planned to be where they are and didn’t know of it as an option when they were first starting out in the workforce. Being happy in your work is important, but make sure to balance making yourself happy at work with staying happy in other aspects of your life. – Annie Ingram


Hannah Gonda, Bethia Burgess and Annie Ingram are the 3 winners of YOA’s Writing Competition in the category ‘Advice I wish I had.’ 

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