Old Flinderian Kelly O’Hara (nee Douglas) graduated with our Flinders Class of 2005. Kelly remains an active part of our College community and generously volunteers her time as our Old Flinderians' Association Committee Secretary. Here she reflects on her Flinders days and shares her study and career path beyond.
What does life look like for you now?
I’m living on the Sunshine Coast with my husband and two young sons, one of whom is in Year 2 at Flinders' Junior Primary School. I am just about to complete my Bachelor of Nursing Science, which I have been studying part time over the last six years.
What was your favourite Flinders moment?
In my final year, being honoured with the roles of School Captain, Captain of Basketball and Captain of the first ever Flinders Girls’ Rugby Union team.
Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Flinders?
Bill Hooper (now Head of Curriculum at the College and Teacher of Year 12 English) was an incredible mentor when I started at Flinders in Year 7. We connected through basketball and developed a strong friendship that continues to this day. He was not only emotionally supportive during my mum’s cancer treatment, but he also advocated for me while I tried to navigate through my Secondary School studies, sporting and leadership commitments, and life outside of school.
Was it ‘easy’ to decide what to do beyond graduation?
I didn’t leave school with a plan or direction in mind. While I was encouraged from a young age by my friends, teachers and parents to become a nurse, I ended up in the automotive industry where I met my husband. Together, we manage our dealership. It wasn’t until I had worked for a few years, had children and gained some invaluable life experience that my decision to study nursing became an easy one.
Did your further study or career go exactly as you planned?
While it took many years to decide on my career path and further my study, I feel like the life experience I had going into my degree as a mature-aged student and choosing to study part time allows me to balance my work, study, personal and mum life easily.
What advice do you have for current students?
Don’t stress if you don’t graduate with a plan set in stone. There is a common thought that to be successful you have to go straight to uni and straight into your chosen career, but there are many layers to success. Some layers take years to define, and some take precedence over others. So, take your time and strengthen your self-reflection; everything will fall into place when it is meant to.
To read more profiles with our Old Flinderians, please visit here.