Leaving School With Ally Cooper

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Did you have any idea about what you wanted to do when you finished school? Has it changed at all?

I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I left school, but now I look back and I realise that I had no idea and I laugh about it. My ideas changed as I grew and matured. As I figured out who I was and what I wanted my place to be in this world, that’s when my ideas and views changed.

Would you say there is a lot of pressure on young people to have their whole lives figured out and to be ‘successful’ straight after school? If so, what do you think is one of the contributing factors?

I feel like there is so much pressure on this. Leading up to the last few months of school and the pressure teachers and parents place on HSC marks and results makes kids feel like they “have” to do well. Although they have good intentions, I think it makes kids so much more stressed than they need to be during an already challenging time. People are still figuring out where they want to go, who they want to be, and I think that all of the pressure can make people feel isolated.

What were the first few years out of school like for you? Would you do anything differently?

My first few years out of high school were some of the best years of my life. I got a full time nannying job, saved my asssssss off and went travelling around Europe for 6 months. It was one of the best experiences of my life and made me who I am today.

Working a full time nannying job, then moving around to become a swim teacher, have a bar job, and more all led me to learn more about myself. I wouldn’t change a thing about the first few years out of high school - these years taught me all of my most important life lessons and showed me the much bigger picture in life.

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Do you remember what your biggest fear/fears were during this time of transition?

That I was going to fail.

That other people were doing it a lot faster than I was.

That I didn’t have it “all figured out”.

And I now know that all of those were just limiting beliefs holding me back.

From your experience during this period of transition, what would you tell someone going through the same thing now?

All I can say is do not rush. You are young, amazing and have SO much ahead of you. All of the answers will come to you in good time. The more pressure we put on ourselves to have it all figured out can lead to us feeling unhappy. Find the things that light you up from the inside out, make you feel passionate, motivated, and inspired, and go from there. Some people figure it out quickly and for others it takes much longer. If that feels like you, I can tell you now I know many people who felt like this and now they are living their dream life, me being one of those people! It’s taken me 7 years to get to where I wanted to be after high school and I couldn’t be happier.

Do you think you’re on the right path now? And how do you think your experiences in life have led you here?

Absolutely. I am exactly where I need to be for this phase in my life! I am now a health coach and working with natures medicine to help people figure all of these things out. I am going to keep dreaming and achieving. Life feels exciting, inspiring, and purposeful. Every single one of my experiences in life have led me to where I am today. By testing out the waters in different jobs, surrounding myself with beautiful family and friends, and trusting in the natural process of life - it all worked out for me. But it was the belief that I had in myself that changed it all. And you can do anything you put your mind too!

Interview by Sanchia Gillies


Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000.

Leanne Westlake