Past Lithgow High School students who graduated in 2001 came back to school for a Q&A session on Tuesday, November 27.
The school leavers were Yasmin Vought, Phoebe Christison, Matt Banning, Mark Wilkinson and Jessica Wilkinson.
Each of them answered questions asked by principal Ann Caro and gave their advice to Year 11 about what life was like after school.
Ms Caro asked if they went straight to university or took a year off after graduating.
Childcare director Phoebe Christison said she went straight to tertiary education.
“I was originally offered to study Chinese traditional medicine at Western Sydney Uni but it was too much of a big step to take, so I went to CSU in Bathurst and stayed at home with my mum and dad,” she said.
Yasmin Vought who now works on a program called RAGE with the ABC said she studied psychology at university.
“I use to write for the uni paper and my first job out of study was actually not in psychology it was in journalism,” she said.
Ms Caro also asked the ex-students what they found most challenging after leaving study.
CEO of Westfund Lithgow Matt Banning said he was fortunate to gain employment in his home town but found some things difficult.
“There was this big transition from doing 12 hours a week at uni to 35 hours a week in the real world. I became tired very quickly,” he said.
Property economist Jessica Wilkinson married high school sweetheart Mark Wilkinson and together they have faced some challenges in their careers.
“I work 50 odd hours a week, so I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband who took a step back from his career and let me excel in mine,” Jessica said.
Her husband Mark worked for an advertising company in Sydney called Saatchi.
“My job involved a lot of thinking and coming up with ideas, now with the time I’ve had at home with our kids I’ve decided to start a tennis coaching business,” Mark said.
Ms Caro then asked the graduates to describe a typical day at work and some of the highs they’ve experienced.
Yasmin said her job at the ABC wasn’t a typical job.
“I get to pitch to bands, email their managers, get them to come into the studio and set up for an interview.
“It’s a really fun job and I’ve interviewed Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Harrison Ford, Drew Barrymore and Cate Blanchett,” she said.
The ex-students were also asked if the jobs they were doing now, were the jobs they saw themselves doing.
Matt said he always thought he was going to be an electrician like his father and brother.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was doing it,” he said.
The guests then gave more advice such as useful skills for the students to have when leaving the safety net of school.
They told the pupils to not be scared of rejection, to always keep going and be confident.
“Go and meet people, spark conversations and go into a room and introduce yourself,” they said.
They also said that networking was important and to always be polite and respectful.
Phoebe also said an ATAR was not a full stop on students’ life.
“There are so many options and so many doors, just keep taking those opportunities,” she said.
Ms Caro thanked the past students for their wonderful advice.
“We are so grateful you’ve come to see year 11 and given us a wonderful picture of what your lives have been like after school and provided our students with reassurance,” she said.
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