We recently interviewed Old Flinderian Kara Schooley-Proud as part of our Beyond Flinders Interview Series here. Kara was College captain in her final year at Matthew Flinders Anglican College in 2015. She has returned to campus to assist with coaching our Flinders Basketball teams.
We asked Kara some questions about life beyond the College gates, and she shares her reflections in this Q&A profile. Her honesty and positivity is refreshing and will be helpful for many of our students and recent graduates who are unsure about the path ahead.
What does life look like for you now, Kara?
It's a bit confusing, to be honest! I am in my fourth year of a double Law and Finance degree (only two more years to go!). This year was meant to be my university exchange in Germany where I was set to learn German and work in a German company, but I had to come home in the last week of March due to COVID-19.
I struggled for a few weeks when I got home because I had worked for so long to get the opportunity to go overseas. I found it very sad that it was all taken away so quickly. I soon realised that there were people in much worse places in their lives than me and I had to just make the most of what I’d got.
I’ve used this year to get back into basketball by coaching at Flinders and playing at the Sunshine Coast University. It has also been great to spend more time with my parents as I haven’t lived with them since school. I’ve been studying hard and am now trying to get into a career-type job that will help me with prospects when I graduate.
What was your favourite Flinders moment?
A real standstill moment for me was when Gerry (Mr. Price) offered me the position of College captain; I’ll never forget it. During Year 7, I clearly remember looking up at the prefects and thinking “Wow, I want to be there. I want to be a cool prefect like these people someday,”. I had always wanted to be a prefect, but had never considered being captain. Right up until some of the last interviews, I genuinely did not even think it was possible for me to become a Flinders College captain. So, when I was sitting in Gerry’s office and he said that I’d been awarded the captaincy, it was a feeling of total disbelief.
What is your link with sport at Flinders?
I tried many different sports while I was at Flinders but could never stray away from my commitment to basketball, and that’s what I’m back coaching now!
Why was it important to return to Flinders and give back to your sport of choice?
Basketball was such a huge part of my life while I was at Flinders. I was so determined to make it one of the biggest sports at our College, aiming to increase the participation rate and especially keen to get more girls involved. Ever since graduating in 2015 I’ve wanted to come back to see where Flinders Basketball is at and how it has changed since I was the one playing!
Do you have a role model or someone who has inspired you over the years?
I’ve never been a massive one for role models. I think it’s good to pick and choose aspects of different people’s lives and personalities to aspire to as we are all human and no one is perfect.
In saying that, there is one person from Flinders who has and always will be on my shoulder supporting me and helping me with big decisions. Ann Oliver was my Head of House (I was in Bradman) from Year 7 to about Year 9 or 10. She was the most incredible woman. Ms Oliver had to step down when she became sick and unfortunately passed away in 2014. She epitomises everything I want to be as a woman. Ms Oliver was fiercely strong willed, competitive and stood for absolutely no nonsense, but she was also incredibly protective of her own as well as unbelievably kind and encouraging. I think about Ms Oliver every day and I believe she watches over me, helping to make me a better person.
How easy was it to decide what to do in life?
Easy is not a word I would ever use to describe my “what to do in life” decisions. I’ve always struggled with decisions generally, so I’ve always found it super difficult to choose what I want to do in life. I honestly still have no idea. I’ve always thought of myself as a solid allrounder who has to try really hard at everything I do and not particularly gifted in any one area so there’s no real clear path. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you want to look at it, so I try to be positive and think of it as giving me many options!
Did your further study or career go as you had planned?
Once again, I never really had a proper plan. In all honesty, my plan in Year 12 was simply to graduate! When I did get a chance to think about what I wanted to do after school, it changed almost weekly, which is why I ended up taking a Gap Year and living in London. I learnt a lot in that year and it definitely made me more ready to study a double degree, although I’m now five years out of school yet only in the fourth year of my six-year degrees so I wonder whether it would have been better to get straight into it!
What advice do you have for current students?
Please appreciate the time you have at Flinders. I know you’ve heard that a million times and you’ll probably hear it a million more, but it is so true. I never really understood what that meant when I was at school, but it just means you need to make the most of what you have right now. Flinders is so much more than a school, it’s a home. There’s so much support and guidance around you so welcome all of it with open arms. Spend time with your friends, listen to your teachers, be involved in as much co-curricular as you can and really live in the moment of what are your high school years because they only happen once.