After hearing Michelle speak on her podcast, Better Words, we were interested in her story. We caught up with Michelle to chat to her about life after graduating from Rockhampton Girls Grammar in 2011.
From a shy school girl who always had her head in a book, to a successful journalist preparing to move overseas, Michelle Gately, Rockhampton Girls Grammar Alumni, has accomplished a lot since leaving the school yard in 2011.
The Rockhampton local was a student from 2000 to 2004 and again from 2006 until her graduating year in 2011.
Michelle said "it’s hard to reflect on growing up and not think of Girls Grammar as it feels intertwined with her childhood."
“School always felt like a safe and welcoming place, somewhere I genuinely enjoyed being each day with people who continually encouraged me to push beyond my own barriers in so many ways,” she said.
Before Michelle finished year 12, she was awarded a scholarship to Bond University on the Gold Coast where she studied a Bachelor of Journalism from 2012 to 2014. Upon graduation from Bond she returned home to Rockhampton where she started work as a cadet journalist at The Morning Bulletin. In 2016, she started studying a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) via distance through Deakin University which she is currently in the middle of.
“Alongside work as a journalist, I’ve continued to write on my own book review and literature blog The Unfinished Bookshelf,” she said.
“In 2017, I started co-hosting a podcast called Better Words featuring interviews with authors and creative people.
“My co-host and I have been invited to interview authors live, including bestselling Divergent author Veronica Roth at the Brisbane Writers Festival.”
Michelle said "it’s funny to look back on how she made the decision to study journalism" as at the time she really had no clue what she wanted to do. She thought of a few different things she wanted to study (like psychology and criminology) but it wasn’t until Bond University representatives spoke to her in Year 12 that she considered journalism.
“Truthfully, that decision was based on the subjects that made up the degree which all sounded like things I’d be interested in. I loved English (thanks Mrs Bartlem) and it felt like the right fit. Luckily, it was,” she said.
“I’d always loved reading and I’m sure all my teachers will tell you I could often be found with my nose stuck in a book or at the library during lunch. But I’d never really thought I could turn that love of storytelling into a career."
“At its very core writing, and journalism, is storytelling. I’m sure that early love of reading really influenced everything from my love of school to my eventual career choice.”
Michelle has now been a journalist for five years at The Morning Bulletin and will be finishing up with the company in May to finally live her dream of moving to the United Kingdom.
“Despite the Brexit drama, I hope to travel widely (and read even wider), while pursuing freelance writing, editing, and photography. Whatever I end up doing, I’m sure there will be books and writing involved,” she said.
When asked if she had any advice to share with current Girls Grammar students, Michelle said:
“It’s really easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. This is especially true in any kind of creative career. When we’re in that comparison cycle it can be hard not to sway to the pressure of the popular."
"Writer Elizabeth Gilbert said “create whatever causes a revolution in your heart” and this is a wonderful reminder to follow our passions through school and beyond."
Michelle said "you will stumble, it will be hard and you will doubt yourself but you need to persist in what you love and trust it will pay off."
“That might not equal fame or huge success or making lots of money, but the work you do will find someone who needs it and you’ll leave your mark on them,” she said.
“Look, it’s definitely not as sexy as being a millionaire but, ultimately it will be infinitely more pleasing.”