This week marks exactly 3 months since I have relocated from Sydney to Melbourne after accepting a job offer as a Lecturer at one of Melbourne’s top 3 universities – Swinburne University of Technology. With the support of my parents, my partner and loved ones, the transition from one city to another was smooth and for the most part, it was incredibly exciting.
My first visit to Melbourne city was actually in November 2016 when I presented a research paper at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference. After the brief visit, I remember saying that ‘I could see myself living Melbourne’ as a lot of what I had seen during that first visit reminded me of my birth country – New Zealand. However, I did not seriously consider that it would be a possibility and that 2017 would be the year I actually move to Melbourne.
I started my new role at Swinburne only a day after I arrived in Melbourne. Basically, I hit the ground running. Immediately I felt that this is where I am meant to be at this point of my life. I believe that every encounter, challenge and learning experience that I have had, have all prepared me for this season of change. Taking on this new role at Swinburne University of Technology has meant that my responsibilities have increased dramatically and this is something that I do not take for granted. In addition to my role as a Lecturer, I am also a Unit Convenor for a few units and I am a Course Director for one of the Bachelor of Education degrees. This week alone saw me juggling a few competing deadlines and I am glad that with collegial support, I was able to meet all of the deadlines. My new colleagues, senior management and the staff that I have met across the university thus far have been welcoming, helpful and supportive. I am particularly impressed by the high level of collegiality in this space. The students have been wonderful and they add to the purpose of why I am here thus making this experience all the more worthwhile. I am truly grateful for the opportunity that I have received to take on this new role and for all the responsibilities that are inextricably linked.
They say that Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city and I must agree on many levels. While I miss everyone who resides in Sydney and in my hometown Auckland in New Zealand, relocating to Melbourne has enabled me to reconnect with family members and friends whom I knew from Auckland, New Zealand. It also meant that I was able to reconnect with colleagues that I had met previously. As a result, I have made new connections outside of work. Within the first few months of settling here in Melbourne, I have become involved with a local church, I have met family members that I have never met before, I have met the locals within my neighbourhood, I am on an advisory panel for a Pasifika community project, and I am a member of an educational research consortium. Despite all the excitement, settling in Melbourne during the 2017 winter season had me at one point trying to fight off the cold virus and it knocked me back for a couple of weeks. Temperatures in the mornings and evenings have been as low as 3 degrees and in other parts of Melbourne it has been less. I have never experienced these low temperatures before and I think I am genetically coded for warmer weather lol! Nonetheless, this is all part of the Melbourne experience and despite the wintry months, it has been a truly heart-warming experience thus far.
What has been particularly encouraging is that over the past 3 months my Swinburne colleagues, at different times and in different conversations, have extended their support and advice as I continue to navigate in this new space. Each time I have thanked them individually, I have noticed that there seems to be a common thread in their responses and that is they are just ‘paying it forward’. So in this season of change, I will give this new role, my students and my involvement with my family, friends and community here in Melbourne, the absolute best that I can offer. And in doing so, I will keep to the common thread within this new space and pay it forward.
For the readers who have been following this blog over the past 5 years and those who have recently started following, thank you for journeying alongside me. Looking back over the past 5 years, I am glad that in the moments of uncertainty, I have been able to step out of my comfort zone and have taken a leap of faith trusting that God’s grace will be sufficient. A piece of advice that I have offered my students and the younger generation, is to always stay true to your course, believe that you have the capacity to fulfil your goals and dreams, put in the required work and be open to others providing support for you along the way. If I can do it, you can too. Until my next blog post, take care. God bless, Dr. Maryanne Pale.