I graduated from THLHS in 2012.
During my final year I was 99.9% sure that I would go to university to study equine science or some sort of agricultural course.
Then one day I saw an ad for the Australian Defence Force. I decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to give something so different and challenging a go, so I applied to join the Australian Army.
I started my 80 days of basic soldier training at Kapooka in January 2013.
It turned out to be one of the most mentally and physically challenging, but also one of the most rewarding, things I had ever done in my life.
I moved to Albury in April 2013 and completed my specialist training to become a supply chain storeman, learning about my new job working in large warehouses, responsible for supplying the Defence Force with everything from repair parts for vehicles and weapons, to clothing and everything in between.
In July 2013 I was posted to Townsville in North Queensland, for three and a half years. Come January this year, I was posted to Sydney where I will stay until December 2019.
The Army has given me the opportunity to make friends for life, experience so many new and challenging things, and given me the opportunity to travel around most of Australia and across the world.
To date, my career highlight has definitely been my seven month operational deployment to the Middle East.
Seven months was a long time to be overseas, especially in a country so different to Australia, and while it was tough, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
While I was there it really opened my eyes to how great our quality of life is here, and to know that I have contributed to Australia’s security and helped to allow all of us to live safely in Australia, humbles me.
I was awarded the Australian Operational Service Medal – Greater Middle East Region, and Operational Service Badge, for my involvement in this operation, which I wear alongside my Australian Defence Service Medal, with the greatest of pride.
Looking back to four years ago, I don’t think there is anything I would do differently.
I love my career and I am excited to see what new things lay ahead.
My one piece of advice to students is to remember that school, while important, is just one small part of your life and so many new and fantastic opportunities lie waiting for you in the bigger world.
I encourage everyone to go out there and give everything your best.
Promise yourself that one day, when an opportunity arises, you will take a step out and challenge yourself.
I encourage everyone to go out there and give everything your best.Kirsten McKellar
I have now been in the army for over four years and I believe it was the best decision I could have made.
I would like to thank The Henry Lawson High School for providing me with a valuable and memorable education and inviting me to share my story about my life after high school.