How Switching to College Helped Kick-Start my Career

 Macleay Digital Media student Isabella Dugan opens up about her breakthrough year. 

Appreciation really is where my head is at these days. Appreciation for myself, my opportunities and my latest job at 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT), exercise guru Michelle Bridge’s fitness and well-being channel, where I work as Social Media Manager.

Finally, appreciation for my Diploma at Macleay as my new job is a direct result of my hard work and experience whilst at the college.

Mine is a similar story to the many of us trying to get a start in the communications industry and I’m here to tell you that it can be done. I know hearing that sentence means a lot to someone just like me, who could’ve used it this time two years ago. At that time, I was enrolled at a big university in an academic media degree that offered little real-life education, practical courses or content. We just wrote a lot of essays. 

I was two and a bit years into the uni degree and I was skipping classes, neglecting assignments and taking holidays during the semester. Of course, this wasn’t okay. But I wasn’t okay. I was uninterested and frustrated and really anxious, and it was beginning to dawn on me that I wasn't enjoying what I was studying. I was wasting my money, and I was no further into figuring out what I wanted to do.


Isabella Dugan shares the secrets to her success.


You know, writing it down, it seems so self-centred and childish, but I thought I deserved more. We all do. Many rely on a big university education to give them the best possible start to the rest of their lives. And for some, it works out. But for others, like me, it doesn’t. 

So, at the end of that semester, I called it quits on uni. It felt like quite possibly the bravest thing I’d ever done. Because, university was my lifeboat, and I had known nothing else for two and a half years. What was I going to do without it? How was I going to learn? Get internships? Network? But once I’d left, I’d never felt more motivated. I wasn’t relying on a big university to make my choices for me and it was empowering simply knowing what I didn’t want to do, just as much as knowing what I wanted to do.

"It was the first time ever I was certain about something in my future..."

For the first time ever, I was certain about something in my future. And then I became certain about it more and more. I was sure I didn’t want to give up on my chosen industry. I knew the digital communications world was exciting and I felt motivated at the thought of working as a part of that industry in the future. I knew I liked a mix of creativity and strategy. And I knew I liked writing.


I carried these certainties with me whilst working in hospitality, figuring out what to pursue next. I found two-day-a-week work as a content writer, and that was my first ‘industry’ role. My advice to anyone looking for that first gig is start local and start small. The name, size, reputation of the company and the thrill (or lack-of) that you get from the work doesn’t matter. You’re after a piece of the puzzle, building a set of abilities to put on a resume and actually knowing what to call them. Because saying ‘Good Writer’ doesn’t cut it.

But also know when a foot in the door presents itself. It could be a job, a meeting, or, as it was for me, an educational opportunity. I simply Googled ‘advertising education Sydney’, and Macleay College came up as a top 5 result. I clicked, I interviewed, and I was accepted. This was all within a week and I had no second thoughts, just a really good feeling about it.

"Macleay has taught me real-world practical knowledge, whilst teaching me about myself."

I began my Advertising Diploma in May 2018. Macleay has taught me real-world practical knowledge, whilst teaching me about myself. The course content, the brilliant industry-working lecturers, the analysis of our own potential, and the sincere interest in assisting with our career - well, I’d never experienced anything like it.

I would never have had the confidence or skills to pull any of my internship opportunities off without Macleay and the support and mentorship of its lecturers. I interned in an e-Commerce boutique agency, a PR agency, and a creative branding agency. They all provided me with foundational learning experiences to support my Macleay studies.  Each were worthwhile and rewarding, and the last led to a paid three day a week Social Media Manager role during my final Trimester.

"Macleay... I'd never experienced anything like it."

It is now June and I am four weeks into my new role as a Social Media and Publishing Coordinator for Michelle Bridges and 12WBT. My Macleay graduation ceremony is approaching, and to look back on the whirlwind year I’ve had almost (for sure) makes me cry. I’m so proud of how far I've come and of my accomplishments. 

I am happy to say that I am now a communications industry professional at the age of twenty-one, the youngest in every room, managing my workflow, creating to my little heart’s content, working among talented people and role-models, and always thinking ‘where can I see myself next?’. Every single door is open to me now, and that is all down to the year I’ve just had. I can’t believe it, but it can actually happen to anyone.


Why choose a Macleay College Course?

  • At Macleay College we believe in real-world course content to ensure you're job-ready.
  • Our course material and teaching method incorporates the latest industry practices and experience.
  • Our lecturers have industry experience and up-to-date knowledge.
  • Our small classes feature personalised teaching that nurtures your unique strengths.
  • We understand that different people are looking for different outcomes when they choose to study at Macleay. That's why we offer Diploma and accelerated 2-year Bachelor programs. 

View our courses or download one of our course guides.

Click here to apply now

Latest News And Events