I met my husband at Orientation: This is where we are now
The secret perks of Orientation
It was a hot day in 2012, I had had my wisdom teeth removed the week prior so I was (in my own mind at least) annoyingly puffy cheeked, and I was stuck playing ice breaker games in a room full of strangers. Was this Dante’s missing tenth circle of hell? No, it was my FASS Faculty Welcome. And, it turns out, it was also where I would meet my future husband.
Look, my social anxiety meant that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to Orientation – uni is such a big shift away from everything I had ever known, I didn’t know anyone else in my faculty and the thought of having to make small talk for hours at a time had me in a cold sweat before I’d even stepped foot on campus. But, I knew it was important to learn about my faculty and university precisely because everything was so different.
So there I was, mid-game and sweaty-palmed and looking frantically for someone else born in the same month as me to quickly interview before having to introduce them to the room. Just as I was getting flashbacks to being picked last for sport in primary school (honestly, justified), this guy catches my eye and mouths the word ‘June?’ and that, as they say, was that.
We were both studying a Bachelor of Arts in Communication – he majored in Media Arts and Production, and I was majoring in Writing and Cultural Studies, alongside studying a Bachelor of Laws. For those first few sessions we had a lot of the same core lectures together, and started forming a ragtag group of friends with people we’d each met either at Orientation or in our studies. Every Thursday we’d all meet up to do the trivia nights that ActivateUTS hosted at the Underground, winning bar tabs and solidifying our friendships over jugs of cider.
Flash forward a few months and we were officially dating, and a few months after that we had moved in together. A couple of years later, we had both graduated. Jump to 2019 and we were married, honeymooning, and blissfully unaware of the pandemic looming on the horizon.
So while I was pretty sceptical about Orientation to begin with, it actually turned out to be perhaps the most beneficial thing I ever took part in while studying. Who’d have thought?
Where are we now: careers
Now, as this is a career-themed blog you’re probably all wondering what we ended up doing for work with our nifty communications degrees.
Well, when we started uni my husband was working as a casual ward clerk at one of Sydney’s bigger hospitals. From what he told me, it was basic admin work, some data processing, but the sort of entry-level job you’d perhaps expect someone with no background in health to start with.
While there he picked up a few transferable skills, did some networking and was soon offered a casual role in another department as a medico-legal officer. Unfortunately budget cuts meant he was made redundant, and he had a few months off to focus on his studies.
Towards the end of his degree he started working at another large hospital as a ward clerk again. Then, in what turned out to be a great career move, he was offered a secondment to be the ED Data Manager – a role he was well suited for in terms of cultural fit and transferable skills, but where he had limited technical training. (I mean, he studied a communications degree and now he was working in data?) There were a lot of late nights of self-led study, and jump forward a few years he’s now working full-time heading up a different team of performance data analysts and helping the hospital measure and improve its performance across all of its departments.
Does he use his degree? Funnily enough, yes. The communications skills and knowledge he learnt throughout his degree has helped in a number of ways. The main one being that much of his role involves efficiently and simply communicating complex concepts and datasets to groups of people who don’t work in data or analytics. So being able to verbally and visually translate these ideas and share them with people is a big part of what he does.
As for me? When I started at UTS I had already been working part-time at my local chemist for a few years. Then a close family member got very sick so I quit my job to become her full-time carer while studying (pro-tip: if you find yourself in similar circumstances, UTS offers a number of support services that are definitely worth reaching out to!).
After she passed away I got a job at my local council library, where I worked as a library assistant for a few years. The job basically meant helping to guide patrons around the shelves, putting away and cataloguing books, setting up the tables for the weekly knitting group, and a range of other customer service-themed tasks.
During that time I also landed a wonderful job as a copywriter for UTS Careers! That’s right, you’ve caught me, I work here. Honestly, it was (and is) great, and a big part of that role was setting up this blog. As a creative writing student, being paid to write for a living was (and again, is) amazing.
While juggling study, two jobs and some freelance copywriting work I picked up during that time was invigorating it wasn’t sustainable. I quit my job at the library and kept working at UTS Careers. (Oh, and I was also an editor for the UTS Writers’ Anthology at some point during that time, which was also fantastic).
Now for my own flash forward – five years later and I’m still here at UTS Careers, but now as the communications officer. Still writing blogs, and still amazed that I get paid to write for a living.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Mia Casey