Giving yourself a fair go

Daniel playing guitar with a friend

With the courage to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself (or the status quo), you can find your own way of thinking, doing, and ultimately achieving.

We partnered with Auspire – The Australia Day Council to deliver the Leaders in Citizenship event that hosted 2019 Australians of the Year, Murdoch alumnus Dr Craig Challen and Dr Richard Harris. The event explored ‘how values of fair go and tenacity, courage and resilience lead to success.’ When looking back at the rescue in July 2018 where Dr Challen’s and Dr Harris’ heroic efforts helped to save 12 boys from a flooded cave in Thailand, it’s clear they know a thing or two about the importance of these values.

Dr Challen’s and Dr Harris’ achievements are nothing short of extraordinary. But for those of us whose successes and triumphs might not make international headlines or win multiple awards, it can be hard to know how to pursue your own goals with the same values.

From enrolment to graduation

We chatted with Daniel, who graduated earlier this year, to hear his insights on these values. Though thousands of our students complete degrees every year, it does take tenacity, courage, resilience and a fair go (of yourself, the situation and those around you) to make it to graduation night.

With dedication and hard work, uni gives you the skills, knowledge and experience so you can pursue your chosen career. But what’s more, uni also gives you the chance to challenge the way you think about the world and yourself, so you can achieve what you’re capable of – and then some.

“Sometimes our expectations with how things will be don’t always line up to reality, but that’s the thing - we don’t know what we don’t know. So go ahead and try new things and make the best out of your degree.”

By having the courage to try new or difficult things and give that degree you’ve been thinking about a go, you just might surprise yourself.    

“When I look at myself before going to Murdoch, I realised just how much I’ve changed and grown as a person.”

And while it’s natural to sometimes avoid new or challenging situations and instead enjoy the safety of the familiar, we can learn resilience by developing the courage to push ourselves into situations we can grow from. Taking the first step can often be the hardest part, and Daniel’s advice is to give yourself time to get settled before pushing yourself in new directions.

“After taking some time to adjust to uni, definitely try activities that aren’t related to your degree, such as clubs and volunteer work. It’s all great fun and will broaden your horizons.”

Dig your heels in and keep going

In between all the fun and socialising, like all goals, uni can present challenges along the way. But the beauty of building resilience is that after a while, the things that used to challenge you get easier.

“I would remind myself that things will get hard and sometimes things will feel extremely overwhelming but with enough discipline (and less procrastination), it will be okay.

“It has made me a lot more confident in my own abilities and just being able to talk to people. You meet so many people here at Murdoch and the skills I’ve picked up on campus translate into the real world.

“Apart from the skills I need for my career, university has helped develop an even more important part of my character – my independence and being able to do more things for myself, or having the confidence to reach out to those who could help me.

“I’ve learnt a lot about taking the initiative and I feel less shy and awkward when I graduated than when I was starting out.”

It’s important to challenge yourself, step outside your comfort zone, and as Dr Challen said in his speech when receiving his honorary degree, “do hard things.” It can help us to learn, grow and develop a resilient nature so that the next hurdle to come along feels smaller.

However, if the going does get tough, one of the best things about university is you’re surrounded by people who’re ready to help. Whether you need an extra hand when studying, want to get more involved socially, or are having trouble personally, don’t be afraid to ask for help and make the most of the support services available to you.

So if you’re holding back from pursuing a goal – take Daniel and Craig’s advice: jump in and give it a go! You never know - sometimes the experiences we’re most worried about starting are the most rewarding when you finish, and turn out to be in the best interests of ourselves and those around us.

Explore our range of events to find out how to get started. 

Posted on:

21 Mar 2019

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