Wednesday, January 4, 2012

# 48. Write a letter to Mrs. Kahler, my high school careers advisor

Although I have lived in Sydney for over 10 years now, I grew up in Wollongong, a town south of Sydney. This is where my parents and my closest friends still live and it is while I was at University there that I met my beautiful husband. I have very good memories of growing up in Wollongong, and we still visit there quite often.
My two loves at South Beach, Wollongong [image by Zahara Dessert]

Like a good Italian girl, I attended the all girls Catholic high school. Although academically I wasn't brilliant, I also wasn't that bad. I was just lazy. If I liked a subject I would pay attention and try, if I didn't then I wouldn't. I know this isn't ideal, but it is a flaw in my character that I sometimes still struggle with.

Mrs Kahler was our school's careers advisor. I am not really sure what made her qualified for this, but she was the person you went to if you wanted careers 'advice'. Like many, I didn't know what I wanted to do when I 'grew up'. My childhood dream of being a Veterinarian quickly went out the window when I realised you needed the same grades as a Doctor and also be brilliant in Math and Science, which I was not. I knew I was good at humanities, so in my final year of high school I decided I would do an Arts Degree at the University of Wollongong and see where it would take me. Mrs Kahler had other ideas...

I can't remember why or when exactly, but I remember we all had to see her in our final year of school to discuss what we wanted to do. I remember sitting down with her and telling her my plans and clearly she was not impressed by my idea. I know my grades were not fantastic, but you didn't need to be Einstein to get into Arts. I had a goal, and I would do what it would take to get into the course. Mrs Kahler could not understand this. She kept on saying, I think you should do an administration course at TAFE.

I know there is nothing wrong with being a secretary, but it wasn't something I wanted to do. So I ignored Mrs Kahler's advice and did what I wanted to do. I completed my HSC, got into Arts at UOW and by trial and error worked out what I wanted to do when I 'grew up'. I really liked Sociology and did well enough to get into Honors. I even had plans to do my PHD in Social Research. However for some reason I fell into market research which I love and I now work for one of the biggest brands in the world in their Insights department.

view from my desk [image by Zahara Dessert]
So Mrs Kahler, I am really glad I did not listen to you and I had the confidence in myself to ignore your 'words of wisdom'.

I know this isn't a letter as such, but I wanted to get it down. I also know that this isn't the most ground breaking story ever told either. But it was something that affected me a lot and I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had listened to her.

So the moral of the story is have confidence in yourself and as Bono would say, 'Don't let the bastards get you down'!


  1. publish the letter!

    did she write back?

    well done on not being a PA

    1. This is my form of publishing it!
      I never sent it to her as I think she may have passed away.
      But writing it was cathartic just the same


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