Can education transform your life? Meet Jodie

People enrol in education for all sorts of reasons; to increase their employability, learn a particular set of skills, meet like-minded people,  change their careers and sometimes just to have fun.

In most cases our students have chosen to study because they’re seeking employment in the events industry and require the knowledge, skills and connections to get there. But what are some of the unexpected consequences of education? What about personal growth? New ways of thinking? Discovery? What about overcoming every day struggles?

In this new series, we’ll hear from graduates about their experience of studying, the challenges they faced and the outcomes they achieved.

So, can education really transform your life?

Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself – John Dewey

Head shot of CoEM graduate JodieJodie Finger – Diploma graduate

Q. Why did you decide to study?

A. For 10 years I worked my way up to middle management in a small family owned company. Unfortunately the company was slowly shrinking and lacked direction and leadership and I found myself in a bit of a rut. Every day, I was just going through the motions and was feeling unappreciated, unhappy and burnt out. My loyalty and motivation was slowly waning, something that doesn’t sit well with me, as I pride myself on my strong work ethic.

I wasn’t going to jump ship without a strong plan and clear direction so I made lists of all my professional strengths.  I watched TED Talks for inspirations, looked at position descriptions on seek.com for inspiration and did some serious soul searching. It wasn’t until I was organising the work Christmas party that a colleague said to me that I should do study to be an event planner. It planted a seed which grew over the next six months. When I finally started telling friends, family and colleagues that I was going to study event management everyone said that I’d be perfect for events. I aimed to prove them right.

Q. What were you hoping to achieve?

A. With the career evaluation phase complete I was ready to challenge and invest in myself and my future. I wanted to launch into a new career that would play to my strengths and make me happy. Like most people I started out not knowing which area of the events industry I wanted to work and decided to keep an open mind. I had a yearning to be involved in events that had meaning and purpose, events which gave me the opportunity to give back to the community. Early on in the course I was drawn to community based and not for profit events.

On the last day of full-time work before I started studying I posted this on my social media,

Tomorrow will be the start of an exciting new chapter in my life! There is something wonderful about being open to all the possibilities life can bring and enjoying the ride. Who knows where I’ll be this time next year!


It’s very liberating to realise that the world can be your oyster again. And it’s also great to be open to all the possibilities life can bring. I’m now working in the events industry but I can still feel that excitement. It is especially wonderful when you get to feel like this at 40 and you never dreamt it was possible.

Q. How did the experience of study transform you?

A. Returning to study full-time study after a 20 year gap was an even bigger challenge that I thought. I never knew it would be so difficult just to learn how to learn again. As with any change, there was the usual see-saw of emotions, going between stubborn determination to achieve and prove myself capable, to crippling self-doubt and lack of confidence in my own abilities. I’ll never forget going home and crying on my second day thinking, “I can’t do this, I’ve made a big mistake.” Yes, it was a brave move but initially it was also really scary too. Failure was not an option as I had sacrificed a lot to be there and I found it really hard to juggle full time study with my home life and being a good girlfriend, daughter, auntie and friend during this time. But I knew that if I put my head down it would all be worth it in the end. Fortunately I was right.

I am so proud of what I was able to achieve and to get the marks and awards that I got. It was amazing to feel such a sense of accomplishment and pride the night I graduated and I’m grateful that there was a wonderful support system in place that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. It’s so nice to come out the other side and know that if I could do months of study with all the highs and lows I could do anything. Here’s a great quote which has become my mantra and sums up my experience so nicely. I’m so happy I’m now in the ‘dreams coming true phase’;

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true


Q. Is there anything you would like to add?

A. I did a lot of research into where and how I would study event management. Right from the start College of Event Management stood out as being different from the others. From the way the classes are structured and taught to the close links to the industry, I knew I made the right choice. The way I was supported, encouraged and mentored throughout the course is nothing compared to the advice and support given to me since graduating. CoEM is truly a wonderful supportive family that it’s been a privilege to be inducted into.

Graduates from College of Event Management are job-ready! If you’re wanting to find out more about a career in event management there’s plenty of information on our website about our specialised event courses. Any of our course advisors will be more than happy to chat to you on 02 9280 4912 or you can contact us HERE >>

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