An Unexpected Change of Direction

“What the hell is that?”

“Oh my god, that sounds so boring!”

“Quick, it’s not too late to change your enrolment so, you’re not doing that for the rest of the semester!”

Those were a few of the comments I heard from my Humanities buddies after I announced that I was picking up a third-year finance subject.

I didn’t come to uni to do finance. After six miserable years as a social worker, I’d come to the conclusion that I needed a career change. Since I was already geeking out about law and legal problems online, maybe I should pursue my studies in that area? It turns out I didn’t get into Law at Latrobe but, I was offered a place in the Arts. I figured that if I did well enough, I’d be able to change degrees. In my first semester, I did pretty well. But, by my second semester things turned a bit lopsided. My GPA was a mess and I was running out of options. The Law department didn’t want me and I didn’t want to pick up humanities or language subjects. So, one day when I was choosing my subjects, I noticed a finance subject with no pre-requisites and thought I’d give it a try.

Lo and behold, that changed my life. I was having fun at uni again, eagerly arriving early on a Monday morning for classes, attending tutorials, and getting into the subject matter. I loved what I was studying. It felt like I was learning about the intricacies of how the world worked like the rationale and discussions that took place in business behind closed doors. I started to read thick paperbacks about corporate collapses in the eighties, the global financial crisis in 2008 and the Australian Financial Review when I’d pop into a café for a coffee.

I still wanted to do Law but, eventually that changed. It was the moment I was running out of an exam. I was an absolute mess and fraught with panic when I realised that my disappointment and horror at failure wasn’t about a ruined GPA and getting rejected from Law but at the thought that I had probably ruined my chance to complete more finance subjects.

So, in the following semester, I used my Arts electives to pick up first-year finance subjects and started from square one. I had to learn an entire discipline that had been a total mystery to me up until then. When I ran out of electives, I transferred into a Business degree, majoring in Financial Management and minoring in Corporate Finance and I am for the most part, loving it.

The irony is not lost on me; I was so certain that I knew what I wanted to do and then stumbled upon something that felt better for me. If someone had pulled fifteen-year-old “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up” me aside and said, “Kid, you’re going to be obsessing over bank activities and investment portfolios and finding it exhilarating when you’re older,” I don’t think she’d have believed me.

University is one of those experiences where you’re growing your knowledge, learning how to keep your head above the water despite monumental pressures and dealing with the surprises that life brings you. It’s a journey where you come out the other end as a completely changed person.

For me, it meant finding a passion I never thought would be possible.

Jessie Cran is a third year Business student who returned to uni after being a burned out social worker. She doesn’t have much free time, but when she does, it’s spent video gaming or enjoying Japanese pop culture. She has two sons and a house full of animals.