What’s next for our Griffith Collective grad Hayley Payne?
Just four years ago I stepped onto Griffith’s Gold Coast campus for the first time. What I didn’t understand at the time was that this campus would grow into a place where I felt at home. Like many students, I faced a rocky first year at university. I had no idea what I was doing, didn’t get involved in campus life and made basically no friends. I just came to class and then went home. University life seemed dull and pointless. I wasn’t going anywhere or achieving anything.
Luckily, my wake-up call came halfway through my second year when I realised that I was studying the wrong degree (well kind of). After a few breakdowns and countless hours of brainstorming my interests and skills, I had an epiphany. Finally, I managed to connect the dots to understand how my passion for politics and international relations could be mixed with my skills in writing and my want to help people. So, I changed my degree and embarked on a new journey.
After I realised the direction I wanted to take and started actively seeking opportunities, my life began to transform. Over the past few years, I have volunteered with multiple organisations at Griffith, completed four internships, received paid work on campus, and have been sponsored to attend conferences three times (both nationally and internationally). Looking back on it all, I can not believe how lucky I have been to attend Griffith and to be able to grasp so many wonderful opportunities.
That shy girl in first year who was just getting by could never have imagined how life would change. All I needed to do was start putting in the effort. University wasn’t always easy and my schedule required an awful amount of planning. But I wouldn’t change my time at Griffith for anything. I have met the most incredible people here, gained so much knowledge and experience and have grown exponentially both professionally and personally.
When I graduated high school in 2012 I wanted to work in marketing, now five years later I am about to embark on a role as a Graduate Policy Officer. From Griffith, I have learnt that you need to be open to changing your path, to think critically and most importantly to always believe in yourself. Believe in you and your ability to achieve greatness, in whatever form that greatness may be.
Reflecting on my time at university, I feel mixed emotions. I am so happy that I made it and had such an unbelievable experience. But I also feel sad to leave the place that has become my second home, the community that has helped shape my life. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my Griffith journey, you are truly remarkable.
By Hayley Payne