Truth be told – it’s time to take the leap

I come from a rural town in central NSW where roles in advertising are rare, let alone creative roles for women. So, you can understand why I double-take every time I read QLD State Winner of AWARD School on my LinkedIn profile.

My creative hunger began as a student at CSU in 2014; I always knew I wanted to work in advertising. I can’t even give you a good reason why, I just knew it was in me to do it. AWARD school was the stepping stone to get there, I just needed to commit to the journey.

Fast forward to 2019, I’d been in the industry for a while and AWARD school was still in the back of my mind. The first step was heading to the information night where, truth be told, I found out it was a competition. Eek – I legit had no idea! From there, I dove headfirst into the application process, which was the most daunting experience ever. It was the first time I had put myself out there creatively. It was a sickly, yet exciting feeling ideating on my terms to new briefs and wondering if what I had submitted was enough to give me a shot. But, screw it. This was my dream! Safe to say, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got my acceptance email shortly thereafter.

The course began with excitement and eagerness to get stuck in, but sure enough my nerves kicked my confidence in the first few weeks. I doubted myself and thought all, if any ideas I had, were shit. I learnt later that wasn’t the case – No idea is really a bad idea, it just might not be the right fit for the prop

There’s no point sugar coating it, AWARD school is bloody hard and at the start you honestly think yeah nah I won’t be that person who struggles, I’ll be organised AF! I’ll have all my idea’s done each week, they’ll be fully scamped and sitting pretty in my portfolio come the last week. Well, it doesn’t quite go like that … but here’s five ways you can conquer AWARD school and come out the other end alive!

1) Always ask questions because without them there’s no answers!
2) Put your ideas out there even if you think they are shit.
3) Don’t be an enemy to your peers. You’re in this together so bounce off each other, encourage each other, support each other.
4) Take feedback in and write it down. Don’t dwell on it if it’s not what you want to hear, your ego should be left at the door.
5) De-construct the brief and pick it apart to begin the hunt for a solid insight because that insight will be worth its weight in gold to your ideas. If you can nail that, you will conquer AWARD school even, if your life outside of AWARD school is pretty hectic.

Ultimately, this course isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s a place where growth and vulnerability coincide, and where sleep goes to die. But it’s only temporary, and you will survive.

How? Remembering to take time out for you.

Yep, some of you will pull full-time agency hours; you’ll be on the largest accounts within your business, you’ll be commuting; juggling partners and pets and nursing hangovers in between all-nighters. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. Let alone, pour wonderfully magical creative ideas from an empty soul.

Back yourself. Remember why you wanted to be there in the first place, and where you want to end up in the future. Take inspiration from the everyday and let that set your soul on fire.

Righto – now back to my story.

The day of submission was quite memorable for me. I got in the car, and drove to Brisbane blasting Destiny Childs ‘Survivor’ on repeat the whole way, because by golly I felt like one! It was the end of my journey, the end of AWARD school, and I was sure I would feel all the feels - jittery, nervous, sick, and overwhelmed - especially as I was submitting my portfolio for judging. I was laying it all out on the table. But no, I was actually relieved and excited. Finally, I could go home and sleep!

Looking back, AWARD school was by far on of those what the just happened moments for me, but I’m also glad it happened. I got to meet amazing industry bodies and got to talk the talk about creative and work on my own skills, which brings me one step closer to becoming a creative. Ultimately, I wouldn’t change a thing because for everything that happened I learnt so much and gained so much perspective that I honestly don’t think I would have had, it had been any different. If being a creative is something you want to do then AWARD school is definitely the right gig for you. You just have to want it enough and take the leap.