With so many things on their plate after school, a lot of Gold Award Participants struggle to find motivation during uni and post-school life to finish their Gold Award. Olivia is a great example to show that you can balance work, study, the Award and still have a social life.
Though finding motivation was tough, she made great friends through her Award activities and highly recommends the Award to others.
Interview with Olivia
1. When you found out that you would be doing The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, what did you think?
I was curious to find out more about the Award and excited to be learning new skills and contributing positively to my community.
2. Which Award level/s are you doing/did you complete? E.g. Bronze, Silver and/or Gold
I started my Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award journey in high school. It was part of our curriculum to complete the Bronze Award in Year 9. I was able to complete my Silver Award in Year 10, but it wasn’t until I was in my bachelor’s degree that I decided to finish my Gold Award. I am incredibly excited to say that I finished my Gold Award requirements in 2020.
3. What activities did you do for each Award Section?
Service – volunteering on Einstein A Go Go (science radio program) at 3 Triple R community radio station
Skill – quilting and sewing
Physical Recreation – personal training
Adventurous Journey – scientific exploration
Residential Project – volunteering at Portsea Camp for disadvantaged and special needs children
4. Why did you choose these activities?
Service – volunteering on Einstein A Go Go (science radio program) at 3 Triple R community radio station I have volunteered with Einstein A Go Go since my Bronze Award in Year 9. I was 15 at the time and was honoured to be working alongside qualified scientists and doctors. I was given the opportunity to continue volunteering with 3 Triple R for my Silver and Gold Awards.
Skill – quilting and sewing I have always wanted to learn how to use a sewing machine and was inspired by my grandmother who sewed all her life.
Physical Recreation – personal training I chose personal training because it gave me the opportunity to improve my fitness levels, whilst also being flexible with my busy schedule.
Adventurous Journey – scientific exploration I was incredibly excited to do two scientific explorations – one in Tasmania and one in regional Victoria. I am very interested in environmental science and these camps allowed me to contribute to scientific research.
Residential Project – volunteering at Portsea Camp for disadvantaged and special needs children The Portsea Camp was recommended to me by a family friend. The camp gave me an opportunity to volunteer my time for a worthwhile cause and help develop my leadership and communication skills.
5. What activity did you enjoy the most? Why?
The physical activity was one of the things that I thoroughly enjoyed because it enriched my quality of life. I loved getting out and improving my fitness levels. This has been a lifestyle change that I have continued since completing this component.
6. Which activity had the biggest impact on you? Why?
Volunteering on Einstein A Go Go radio program has had a huge impact on my life. I was able to complete a Broadcasting course with the station and have worked ‘on air’ multiple times. I was recently asked to operate the panel for the International Women’s Day show. I have made lifelong friends and feel very honoured to be a part of this community, one that I would have missed out on if it wasn’t for the Duke of Ed.
7. What was the hardest part of doing the Award? Why?
Being self-motivated to complete my Gold Award was challenging. I had to balance my work, study and life commitments with the Award. However, this was a goal of mine and I felt like I owed it to myself to persevere.
8. Are there any interesting experiences or stories from doing any of these activities?
I have had a range of experiences through the Duke of Ed Award, including my time volunteering at 3 Triple R. I have met many prominent researchers, scientists and doctors. Likewise, due to the connections made with the station, I was able to work at The University of Melbourne as a Media Coordinator, and also volunteer as a radio trainer and producer for Melbourne University’s Radio Fodder.
9. Is there anyone who helped you complete the Award?
My mum has been my number one supporter through my Duke of Ed experience. She was always there to lend a helping hand and listen if I needed someone.
10. Has doing the Award changed anything for you?
I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without the Duke of Edinburgh Award. I feel that I have become more confident and am able to step out of my comfort zone. I learnt a lot of transferrable, interdisciplinary skills that I can apply to multiple of aspects of my life, including work and study.
11. How would you explain/describe the Award?
The Award is an exciting challenge for young adults to pursue and explore new avenues by gaining real life experience in different disciplines. It has a positive impact on your life, and it allows you to hone skills that can be applied to real-life practices.
12. Would you recommend it to others? If so, why?
I would recommend the Award to others because I think it not only encourages young people to become involved in their community, but it allows them to learn new skills and meet new people.
13. If you hadn’t had the chance to do the Award, what do you think would have been the thing that you missed doing the most?
I think I would miss many aspects of both my work and personal life. So much of my life is intertwined with the people I have met, the experiences I have had and the skills I have learnt with the Duke of Ed Award. I honestly would miss many parts of my life today if I wasn’t able to complete this incredible opportunity.
14. Is there anything that you tried for the first time when you did the Award that you loved and would like to continue?
My new skill of sewing and quilting has led to a new passion and hobby. I have made multiple garments and quilts for my family and myself, and it is a new skill that I will continue on.
15. Is there anything else you would like to say about your experience?
I feel very honoured and privileged to complete this opportunity and life goal for myself. It is an experience I will never forget, and I am always so excited to meet people who have also done the Award. Thank you for this experience.