Dear Year 12

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Each year Strathcona alumnae write letters to the graduating Year 12s. Here is one of the letters from alumnae Sarah Gales(’92).

Dear Year 12 school leaver,

I remember my time at Strathcona well, I hope you have fond memories too.  Year 12 was such a great year. The barrier of friendship groups were broken down and we were bonded together with the stress of our final year and the knowledge that this was our final year.  You will never experience another year like it- both good and bad!  The important thing to remember is where you are is where you are supposed to be.  One of my favourite sayings from the Chaplain at my time there Mrs McMaster was “When a door shuts a window always opens”. This has held true for most of my life.  I really wanted to get into medicine however my score fell short.  I had excellent marks so I went into a double degree of science commerce at Melbourne University.  Fourth year of the five year course I realised I had no career path mapped out within these studies. I recalled in my work experience time I went to see the allied health modalities. I loved physics so radiography seemed the logical choice.  So I went back to the start.  The first year was a common year with Radiation therapy and Nuclear medicine.  We weren’t assigned into a stream until second year and your preference was based on marks- highest score got first preference.  The more I learned about Nuclear Medicine I realised THAT was my career. So at 22 I FINALLY figured it out.  I embarked on my career- I did research in London, did an exchange to New Mexico I became one of the youngest Nuclear Medicine Managers in the field, I lived over in Abu Dhabi and have moved around Australia with my career in Nuclear Medicine.  I have done so much and am actually relieved to have not done medicine!  I have just decided to change careers after being in Nuclear Medicine for 15 years and now am back at the start learning about IT systems in Medical Imaging.

So why am I telling you all this?  If you had asked me when I was 18 would have followed this path- I never would have dreamed of it!  Life has opportunities and it up to you to grab them or reject them- my advice grab as many as you can.  It might not lead you where you thought- but you will have a great story after and probably learned a lot along the way.  Life really does have a way of working out.   It’s worth asking your teacher and family their stories- an unbumpy road is smooth but a bit boring! You don’t want any regrets so you go girl!

I wish you all the luck with your exams- you will end up where you are supposed to even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, embrace what you have.  We have one life and it is up to you and you alone to make the most of it.  Don’t spend your life waiting for things to happen- go and do them. You might not get the chance to later.  There will always be reason to not do something, it’s your choice if you want to bend to that reason or not. I have travelled when I was broke, relocated when I really needed family and friends and I am still okay and have no regrets. Bite the bullet, own your life.

You will shine at what you choose to do.

Best wishes

Sarah Gales
1992 Strathcona Alumna