from martina

I’m handing over the reins today to Martina, my amazing work placement student for the week, to write my blog.
Here’s what she had to say:

Hello! My name is Martina. 

I’m a student at The Gordon institute of TAFE in Geelong, studying Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design.

As part of my course, I needed to do work placement, in which I wanted to work with a freelancer based in Geelong so that I could get the authentic experience of what it’s like working as your own boss in the field of design!

I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do my work placement with Mandy Dollery, who did the same course as me a few years ago. A number of my teachers, who previously were her teachers, speak highly of her! How could I not approach her and ask if I could learn from her so she could guide me in my career in being a graphic designer?

I’m very fortunate in the sense that I’m aware of where I want to go on my future endeavours with a career in design. While I was with Mandy, it really became true to me that if you love what you’re doing you’ll never have to work a day in your life. As I was following her around Geelong gathering clients and working in the Geelong illustrators gallery, it was never hard work because both of us had a passion for what we were doing. 

I mentioned to her numerous times that my time with her didn’t feel as if it was work placement, but instead I felt more that I was hanging out with a friend. I didn’t want to leave at the end of each day because I was retaining so much knowledge and having so much fun – time flew by very quickly during this adventure. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank Mandy, because she has given me such great knowledge that I haven’t been able to attain in class – the hands on experience has taught me more than I could ever imagine. My passion for design has increased incredibly, and I will not forget the excitement I felt each day by her side – sitting at her desk and laughing as we create new ideas. 

I have a dream to one day be doing just what Mandy is doing: having a successful business, going to markets and selling work to clients that I have created with love and passion. 

Each day was different with her and that is what I want for myself – an adventure in my every day life, using my creativity to make other people happy, and being proud of the work that I produce. 

From an aspiring graphic designer,


I grew up with my mum telling me how much she loved hairdressing and how much fun she had, creating new looks and making new friends. So when I had the chance to do work experience my mum talked me into spending the week at a hairdressing salon. OMG. It was dreadful. We’re talking about the days of perms and strong chemicals. It was not my thing at all. My poor mum was so disappointed that I didn’t share her passion but that quickly turned to dismay when I decided I wanted to join the police. However, that was a passing dream because the police at that time had minimum height requirements and, at 160cm, I didn’t measure up.

I loved doing art but didn’t think of it as a career. When I finished school I did all sorts of things. I worked in retail, I iced cakes, I scooped ice-cream, I worked in a fairground and then I ended up in hospitality for 20 years. I got married and had a kid. You know the story. Time got away from me.

I loved being creative but I couldn’t see how I could make a living from it. I did not love hospitality but at least it paid the mortgage and the bills. I was stuck, until I realised one day that something had to change. I was not going to stumble on my passion one day and make a living from it. I had to engineer my future, and that meant making some tough choices. Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a partner who gave me the courage and confidence to do exactly that.

I left my full-time hospitality job to do a Advanced Graphic Design course. It was a tough two years. I worked night shift in a service station, I fitted in my homework around my responsibilities at home, I gave up luxuries (?) such as haircuts and I didn’t get more than five hours’ sleep in one go. But it was all worth it. I won Student of the Year and now have a wonderful variety of work to do. I have finally turned my passion into my career.

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