Well, folks, it looks like we've come full circle again - I'm *officially* no longer a uni student (again)! Today I recieved my final results indicating that I have qualified for my Master of Creative Industries from The University of Newcastle!
I'm not going to lie, it’s been one long, hard, exhausting, stressful year (and a bit!) - quite possibly the hardest one of study yet. The workload for Marketing was so much more intense than what I’d been accustomed to through my previous studies in the Creative Industries sector (it was a lot more focused on ‘this is what you need to know’ instead of ‘tell me what this means to you’; guided more by factual directives than creative endeavours, though don't get me wrong, it certainly had plenty of those moments too). There were a lot of group projects - some good, some bad - and exams (oh how that made me wish for undergrad days...). However, all in all, I can’t say that I regret my decision to continue studying. Considering the pandmeic had shortly came thereafter, focusing on my studies kept me busy, productive, and distracted. It allowed me to continue developing my skills, knowledge, and understanding in communications and marketing, providing a much deeper insight than my communications background had implied. (BTW Brand Management and Digital Marketing are definitely faves of mine).
Returning to study also meant that I got to hang out with the Yak Media herd for another year (albeit mostly remotely), acting as Managing Editor (a role I never thought I would assume), helping re-brand the student media organisation as a club on campus so that it could continue to live on. I was able to continue writing for OPUS, covering various stories in print and online media, and even temporatily stepping up into the role of PR Officer before the NUSA-NUPSA-Yourimbah organisational fold. I got my first paid writing gig as NUPSA's Student Communication Officer as well, which had challanged me to write for a new, more mature audience. Plus, it meant that I was able to return to the Executive Committee at UoN Writers' Club.
But most of all, this pathway gave me the time and space I needed to pursue my career as a published author. It let me wrap my head around the steps involved in the self-publication process, and in turn, allowed me to finally produce my debut novel, "Once We Were". By producing my novel as my major work at uni, I was inspired to pursue many other opportunites, such as to attend events like the Romance Writers’ of Australia [Virtual] Conference, the IF Maitland Indie Festival’s panels of romance writing and self publishing, and the Australian Society of Author's 'Book Covers That Sell' workshop, all of which were a major influence on the project and have opened up many doors for the future.
So what’s next? I’m not entirely sure. I know I want to focus more on my career as an emerging writer and author and am excited for the gigs I have lined up in the coming months (IF Maitland Indie Festival, Books By the Bridge (SeaWorld), and another I can’t spill the tea on just yet). I also want to start writing regularly again now that my uni commitments are done, particularly looking at feature writing (if you know any organisations seeking writers, let me know!) and focusing on my next novel (hoping for a 2022 release date *fingers crossed*).
I also hope to start picking up my freelance work, so if you’re an arts organisation, artist, or even a small business seeking brand management, digital marketing, content curation, [copy] editing, and/or social media services, get in contact and let's chat!
Aside from these aspirations, stay tuned to find out just what I do next, because while I am going to miss studying, I am very much looking forward the this next chapter (oh, and finally graduating in July).