How I gave up my high-paying city job to make a difference

How I gave up my high-paying city job to make a difference


Aimee Macreadie

I gave up my high-paying city job to make a difference.

“What am I getting myself into?”, I thought as I left my high-paying corporate job in the city, where I plugged away in an office, drinking company-supplied tea, going shopping on my lunch breaks, heading out for expensive after-work dinners with colleagues and friends and, generally, living a very comfortable life.

After six years I had climbed the ladder as far as I could in my job and I started to wonder, what value was I contributing to the world? I had a little experience in dental from a previous job and I thought that this was something I could do and make a difference in the lives of others. So I decided to apply for University.

But it wasn’t as easy as just applying. I didn’t know the process of getting in as a mature age student, let alone what a STAT test was! I’m not going to lie – the STAT test was scary, and quite frankly, I have never questioned my intelligence more in my life. But I got through it. I printed off every type of practice test I could find, and spent hours retesting myself. I got a score high enough to enter my desired course – Bachelor of Oral Health (Therapy and Hygiene).

I quit my job before I even applied. I took a chance, because if I didn’t do it then, I would never have done it. I did the STAT test, got on a plane to Italy, and a week later ended up borrowing a laptop from a drunk 23-year-old on a sail boat in Croatia and applied on the first day the applications were open.

It hasn’t been easy. A decent and steady income, eating wherever and whenever I wanted, having free time on weeknights and weekends and a normal social life is a thing of the past. But I have had my fun for the last 11 years as an adult, and I can justify a sacrifice of three years of my life for a better one. I moved to a suburb out of the city, applied for AUSTUDY and rental assistance and got a job at a restaurant so I could at least have a little more income for the fun stuff between studying.

I am at the new Holmesglen Campus for this course and the facilities are top-of-the-range in the simulation clinic. As first-year students we get the opportunity to travel to regional towns to complete placement and see patient situations, which is often where the care is needed the most. The lecturers and tutors are, themselves, doctors, dental therapists and highly educated individuals and their skills and knowledge they bring to lessons are second to none. The support and understanding of the fact that one may not have done anything remotely close to studying or writing an assignment in over 10 years (me!) is obvious. It has been daunting and confusing at times, but I know I have made the right decision for a new, exciting and rewarding career.

“What did I get myself into!?” is now a daily thought… but the higher and harder the climb the more rewarding the view.

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