Can education transform your life? – meet Jodie

Jodie Finger

People enrol in education for all sorts of reasons; to increase their employability, to learn a particular set of skills, to meet like-minded people, to change their careers and sometimes just to have fun.

In most cases our students have chosen to study because they’re seeking employment in the events industry and require the knowledge, skills and connections to get there. But what are some of the unexpected consequences of education? What about personal growth? What about new ways of thinking? What about discovery? What about overcoming every day struggles?

In this new series, we’ll hear from graduates about their experience of studying, the challenges they faced and the outcomes they achieved.

So, can education really transform your life?

“Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself.”
– John Dewey

Jodie FingerJodie Finger
Melbourne Full Time Diploma Graduate

Q. Why did you decide to study?
A. For the last 10 years I’d been working my way up to middle management in a small family owned company which was slowly shrinking and lacked direction and leadership. I found myself in a bit of a rut just going through the motions and I was feeling unappreciated, unhappy, burnt out and my loyalty and motivation was slowly waning, something that doesn’t sit well with me, as I pride myself on my strong work ethic. I wasn’t going to jump ship without a strong plan and clear direction so I made lists of all my professional strengths, watched TED Talks for inspirations, looked at position descriptions on seek.com for inspiration, read ‘What Colour is my Parachute’ and did some serious soul searching. It wasn’t until December 2014 when I was organising the work Christmas party that a colleague said to me that I was wasted doing my job and that I should do study to be an event planner. It planted a seed which grew over the next six months. When I finally started telling friends, family and colleagues that I was going to study event management everyone said that I’d be perfect for events and I aimed to prove them right.

Q. What were you hoping to achieve?
A. With the career evaluation phase complete I was ready to challenge myself, to invest in myself, my future and my career, to learn new skills, launch myself in a new career direction while playing to my strengths and knowing what I really wanted, which was to be happy at work and do something that I was passionate about. I started out not knowing which area of the events industry I wanted to work in and kept an open mind but had a yearning to be involved in events that had meaning and a purpose and which gave me the opportunity to give back to the community. Early on in the course I was drawn to community based and not for profit events. On the last day of full-time work before I started studying I posted on my social media, “Tomorrow will be the start of an exciting new chapter in my life! There is something wonderful about being open to all the possibilities life can bring and enjoying the ride. Who knows where I’ll be this time next year!” It is very liberating to realise that the world really is your oyster again and to be opened to all the possibilities life can bring. I still feel like that a year later now that I’m working in the industry. It is especially wonderful when you get to feel like this at 40 and you never dreamt it was possible.

Q. Did the experience of study transform you?
A. Returning to study full-time study after a 20 year gap was an even bigger challenge that I thought. I never knew it would be so difficult just to learn how to learn again. I found the six months I was at College of Event Management a see-saw of emotions going between stubborn determination to achieve and prove myself capable, to crippling self-doubt and lack of confidence in my own abilities. I’ll never forget going home and crying on my second day thinking, “I can’t do this, I’ve made a big mistake.” Yes it was a brave move but initially it was also really scary too. Failure was not an option as I had sacrificed a lot to be there and I found it really hard to juggle full time study with my home life and being a good girlfriend, daughter, auntie and friend during this time. But I knew that if I put my head down it would all be worth it in the end. I was right.

I am so proud of what I was able to achieve and to get the marks and awards that I got. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride the night I graduated. I had a wonderful support system in place that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself at times. It’s so nice to come out the other side and know that if I could do months of study with all the highs and lows I could do anything. I found a great quote which has become my mantra and sums up nicely my experience and I’m so happy I’m now in the ‘dreams coming true phase’;

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true”.

Q. Is there anything you would like to add?
A. I did a lot of research into where and how I would study event management and right from the start College of Event Management stood out as being different from the others. From the way the classes are structured and taught to the close links to the industry, I know I made the right choice. The way I was supported, encouraged and mentored throughout the course is nothing compared to the advice and support given to me since graduating. CoEM is truly a wonderful supportive family that it’s been a privilege to be inducted into.

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