The Art of Angela

School is out and Summer is in!! 😎😎😎

The break between high school and “further education” is one of the longest, freeing and most enjoyable times ever, yet for several young Aussies the arrival of summer brings with it the heat of 30+ degree days and the heat of awaiting results that could potentially determine the next stage of your life. A bit daunting? Maybe just a little.

As you probably know (but not necessarily feel), not having everything figured out right now isn’t such a bad thing (even if you’re feeling a bit dazed and confused at times).

Angela is no stranger to this feeling. Her life since high school may have taken her down some unexpected and uncertain paths, but they ultimately helped her discover her passions, strengths and limitations.

SO… Angela, tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Angela and I guess if I’m defining myself by my choice of career: I’m a Community Arts Worker… but also a graphic designer.

I like to feel like I’m an advocate for those who don’t have the power to fight for themselves, so I try to find ways to use what skills I have to do so.

An ex-roller derby gal, I love creating and seeing art, reading, hula hooping, playing the ukulele, drinking tea, walking through the forest and finding waterfalls, and cuddling my sausage dog Basil. 

How did you feel and what did you do when you finished high school?

The end of my time in high school was tumultuous at best.

I had undiagnosed glandular fever, which meant I was sick a lot but not getting the support I needed. I was depressed and fairly disorganised and unmotivated about what to do with my life after school.

I felt like that it was a huge task to ask me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life when my headspace at the time meant that I couldn’t even figure out what I was doing the next day! I was overwhelmed and quite lonely so my plans for my life weren’t really something I put a lot of thought into. I basically gave up.

But I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be an animator.

By the time the 2nd semester of Grade 12 arrived I had done absolutely nothing to work towards that vague dream. I panicked and applied for some random course for the next year that I thought would give me some useful skills to move towards my end goal (as loose as that goal was). It meant that I could also spend the next year actually working on a portfolio and actually be dedicated to a project that interested me.

It turns out that the random course proved to be quite useful to me… and it also turns out that (once I actually completed the course) animation wasn’t something I wasn’t really passionate about! But that was ok. When my animation course was wrapping up I applied for art school because I was still feeling lost. During that next phase of study I learnt more about what I excelled at and it eventually helped me find my passion.

A large portion of my post school life was felt feeling lost, and sometimes (at the beginning) I almost let those feelings overwhelm me completely. I think I felt that way because I felt expected to exactly know the trajectory of my life, but it’s silly to think that most people know exactly where they want to be when they haven’t experienced life outside of a rigid school schedule.

It took around five years of experimenting and learning to start forming into the person I am today. It was a slow process, but that’s what I needed for figuring out who I was and what I wanted. 

When you think about the idea of reality vs expectations, do you think your high school self would have expected you to achieve what you have so far and be doing what you’re doing now?

I think my high school self couldn’t really envision where I would be now and all the crazy and varied things that I have done.

Future Angela was such a foreign concept to me. I did feel fairly pessimistic about where I would end up in life at the time, and I don’t think I could have ever imagined that at different times in my life I would be competing in body-art festivals (and winning 😉 ), planning and executing a large scale zombie event, and even purposely being unemployed to follow my passions. 

Now that school’s out across the country what’s one piece of advice you would give to school leavers about to embark upon a new stage/adventure in their life?

Life is all about learning and growing.

Don’t feel pressured into thinking you need to have all the answers, because no matter how well prepared you think you are there are always going to be unexpected surprises along the way.

Be open to change, and think of this new stage of life as a big adventure and know that mistakes aren’t the end of the world.

As you may or may not know, Angela is also one of SO’s contributors for our illustrated School’s Out Challenges series. You’ll be able to get a peek of her artworks on SO in the coming weeks. So keep your eyes peeled! 

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