By Kylie Robinson
Major heartbreak, meeting and marrying the love of my life, completing a postgraduate qualification and making lifelong friends marks some defining moments of my Griffith University career. I start this blog post with descriptions of personal tragedies and exhilarating highs because career growth and life experience don’t happen separately – they occur simultaneously. After almost 10 years as a proud member of the Griffith clan, today marks my last day. My life is nearly unrecognisable to the naive, terrified 24 year old who started at the university, unsure and anxious about the step I was taking.
As I sit down to write this blog, I’m not really sure how to articulate my feelings. How do I explain what this place represents to me? The words came to my mind earlier but as I write now it’s not so easy to articulate my feelings about the place I know as my home away from home. Griffith is so much more than just my workplace; it’s where I’ve grown up.
When you embark on your career, I don’t think you ever know what to expect. Some people are lucky to recognise from a young age what they are meant to do. They instinctively know what direction to take and put the right plans in place to achieve their aspirations. After speaking and learning from many people over the years, I don’t think there’s one person I’ve met whose path is linear. Everyday I meet students who are not sure which direction to take and I think we can all relate.
I clearly recall the first day I walked into the Griffith office and thinking I have no business being here. I thought what qualifies me to work here? I’m just a girl who worked in retail all her life. I didn’t understand the acronyms. What is a VC? For the record, I do know what a VC is now. I was scared, anxious and not sure that I could do this. I didn’t understand what it meant to have a career. Fast forward a few years and I have a better idea but you never really stop learning.
This place has given me so much. It’s been my haven when I needed to escape the world. It presented me with the most stimulating challenges and projects. I’ve met lifelong friends who inspired and mentored me. Being part of this university community has been much, much more than my career. That’s the part I never knew.
When you are working towards your degree, your career sometimes feels like this abstract concept which is years away. For me, I just wanted to finish but I didn’t really consider what my next step would be. That’s what my time at Griffith gave me. Over the years, I’ve worked across different departments and in various positions. Some jobs I loved passionately, others I wasn’t entirely suited to but along the way I learned what works for me. I discovered my own inner spark. Sometimes you won’t get that straight away. There’s a lot of chatter about finding your passion and once you find that you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s taken me a very long time to work out what I love, what I’m good at and how to be confident in my own abilities. It may take you time as well. There’s no one answer.
What I learned about building my career is how important the people I meet along the way is. That person who gives you your first job, the boss who wholeheartedly encourages and mentors you or the challenging colleague you just don’t get. The people I met at Griffith is what I’ll take away with me. I watched our students start their first year, frightened and apprehensive blossom into confident graduates who are now taking over the world. I learnt the secret language of academia. I fell in love with the university world.
As I finish up today, I have been incredibly blessed to work with some of the most amazing people in the world. The Careers and Employment team is one of those groups. I will never be able to repay my kindness and gratitude to this team who welcomed me with open arms and graciously shared their knowledge and experience.
And the most important thing Griffith gave me is the opportunity to meet my husband. My decision to work here provided me with the most cherished gift of my life. Griffith University, I will miss you.