Editor’s Note: One crucial characteristic of good hustlers is resilience. All of us face resistance at some point in our lives, and those of us who know how to bounce back are the ones who succeed in the end. In this essay, Christiana tells us the story of how she got what she wanted by first learning to accept failure.
My first assembly in Year Seven, and I was enraptured. The three students sitting up on stage emblazoned with the school stripes, red ties and glittering badges seemed like the most incredible people I’d ever met. Their confidence on-stage, the accolades they had collected: I decided then and there that I wanted to be the leader of my school.
Year Nine rolled around, and finally my opportunity sprang up. Four class leaders would be elected by my peers! I’d been Dux, played for the Open basketball teams, and never, ever forgotten to submit my homework. Basically, I had it in the bag.
Until I wasn’t elected.
I cried for a few days, as only a fifteen year old girl can. That’s when I realised: being a leader isn’t just about what you’ve achieved personally, it’s what you can do and how you can influence everyone else.
I still had just under three years to become the leader I envisaged, and I was a pretty determined kid. I begun working as a waitress (which I was devastatingly horrible at for many months) to improve my communication skills with older members of the public. I took up football umpiring to harden myself against criticism (you can’t cop much worse than a footy crowd’s insults).
Theatre studies appeared amongst my maths/science curriculum to practice performing/speaking in public, and I learned how to run a musical production from back stage! Most importantly though, I began “networking” (a.k.a. socialising, as it was known in school days), both with my peers and with the higher authorities at my school.
My “hustling” came to a grand finale when I was elected as Senior Prefect, leader of my school, emblazoned with the school stripes, red tie and glittering badges. I’d believed in my vision and completely turned around people’s perception of me- from a selfish over-achiever to a driven girl with a thirst for action.
I’ve since expanded my goals significantly, having just been selected into a brand new science and leadership course at Monash University, where I am seeking the opportunity to start-up a company which will be able to broach the chasm between the scientific community and that of the broader public.
Currently, I am considering the possibilities of using university science students to engage and inspire primary school students to pursue a career in the field, hopefully teaching science students vital communication skills, and developing a new generation of young people with the ability to enact change!