Hustlin’ Hard

Words by Sami Jenkins
Art by Navarre Fenwick

These days I feel like us young people are always hustlin’ hustlin’ hustlin’. The absolute trash of a stereotype that we are somehow mindlessly reaping the benefits of what our parents set up for us is bogus.  

The young people I know are some of the most creative and hardworking creatures I have ever seen. But aside from that, we’re constantly being reminded that having a degree is no longer enough. I mean as kids, we were told to study hard so we could get into that one university that would somehow confirm our place in this world. And then you get there, but then you think, now what?

Getting good grades and getting your degree isn’t enough anymore. As a result, I think many young people feel daunted at the thought of ever being successful in the first place. And it can be hard to differentiate yourself when there is just so much competition out there.

The idea that we have to go above and beyond now, really fuels me to go balls-to-the-wall crazy and do everything that I have ever wanted to achieve. I talked to some fabulous friends of mine who are doing just that. They’re future business owners, creatives, leaders and hustlers. They really inspire me, and I hope they can do the same for you.


KEVIN

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Uni student. Photographer. Photoshop extraordinaire.

Kevin does a lot of things. He is a full-time uni student, goes to the gym five times a week, has a part-time job and on top of this, still finds time to be a bangin’ photographer.

When did start taking photography more seriously?

That’s a tough one. I’ve always liked taking photos, but I never really had a good camera until  last year. When I first started, I had a really shitty DSLR, really shit. So, I’d try taking photos, but it got to the point where I was really frustrated because my skill level exceeded my equipment.

I just really liked the whole concept of just going out, exploring and then just capturing. I wanted to keep doing that.

Is there an end goal for you?

I always thought I had to get an internship or a good job at a big company, and that’s still kind of a goal for me right now. But I’ve been thinking more about photography recently and my mindset’s been there. I don’t know, but now I think I could build both goals at the same time.

What kind of pressures to do you feel to succeed?

It’s mostly pressures I put on myself. It’s more like I want to push myself to be more creative, and get pictures that no one else is taking. But I want good grades as well.

How do people grow in this industry?

I think it’s just putting yourself out there, asking anyone and everyone and eventually connections will get you jobs. But I’m still in the middle of figuring it all out.

Words of advice to anyone who is stuck in trying something new/creative?

I try and find inspiration from other people, or things I’ve seen. I find myself looking at things and then thinking “oh shit, I want to try that”. And I think whether or not you actually do it, that’s what makes things happen. You just need to try things.


AARON

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Uni student. Tutor. Sales Assistant.

Aaron is truly the definition of hustling hard. As soon as he turned 18, he chose to leave New Zealand to move to Australia. Now, he lives with five roommates in Melbourne. He is also a full-time uni student, works two jobs, and goes to the gym.

You’re in your last year of uni now, what’s important to you?

I think people get it confused, that you’re in university for a few years so you’re able to just chill, but people forget what school actually is. School is preparation for entering the workforce and I don’t think it’s a time to slack around.

I think if you can find something you’re passionate about, just do it, and go for any position despite your qualifications—you never know what will happen.

Is it enough for just get good grades then get your degree?

I don’t think so. I think experience, and not just work experience, really matures you. It’s really important for people to put themselves out of their comfort zones, because that’s the only way you’ll learn. You have to hit rock bottom in order to grow.

Going to school—awesome; but if you can push it that extra mile, that really separates you from the rest.

As soon as I turned 18, I moved countries. It was important for me to experience hardships because I just felt like everything was given to me on a silver platter. I think it’s important to always ask, “are you pushing for a better you?”

What are you doing to differentiate yourself?

‘I’m looking for internships and graduate positions because the biggest thing you have to strive for is a willingness to learn, and a willingness to put your ego aside and just work yourself up. Build the skills necessary which will prove valuable in the workplace.

Where do you find motivation to succeed in life?

My upbringing, my personal motivation to succeed and perseverance. My determination to keep trekking stems from my parents. When I was younger, I didn’t really try in school, but I was always so sick of them saying, “you have to try harder”. The truth is, I look back at high school and I think, “I could have done so many more things if I had just started then”.

And in everyone’s life there is some sort of click when you realise you really have to start hustling. You look at your childhood goals, but then you realise you don’t know how you’re going to get from A to B with nothing in between. That’s why I’m so motivated, because I want those goals to come true.

When did you have your click?

In my first year of uni, I was just going to school, coming back home and then sleeping. After a while I had a click, that if I really wanted to make it, I needed to push myself. So that’s when I started applying for volunteer positions, graduate positions, internships, part-time jobs and exchange programs. I was like, I need to do something. I can’t just sit here and get my goals by working a part-time job alone, I need to push.  


ERICA

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Uni Student. Ballet Teacher. Model. Future business owner.

Erica is a uni student, teaches ballet, and has worked as a model for various brands. She also has a love of marketing and has a future dream to open an environmentally sustainable nail art business.

I am shook.  

How did this business idea come to be?

I’ve always had a lot of ideas, but I never thought I could make them a reality. It’s only until I got into uni, that I realised I’m actually an adult and I can do stuff. And through modelling with different brands, I realised I always saw companies as these big corporations who never had to tough it. But actually, I’ve worked with people who have started their own brands and now they have a clothing line and are distributing globally.

This inspired me. Because every big business was once a small business, and everything starts from something small.

How did you get into modelling?

I used to do kid modelling with an agency, so I had some experience and that’s kind of why I felt confident getting in front of the camera again.

A lot of it was actually driven by my frustration with the modelling industry. I got really frustrated because I see so many people having body dysmorphia or eating disorders. And it’s all because of the examples of these people that we have to look like, or the ideal body.

How does modelling affect your everyday life?

Going into it, I thought it would be a challenge; that I would prefer what I look like in photos and start to hate myself. I was scared. But luckily, it was the opposite. Looking at photos and realising how unnatural they are, realising that certain things just made me, me. And I actually started to love my quirks more.

Modelling is a creative outlet for me, nails are a creative outlet—and I kind of need it.

Is there an end goal for you?

My personal goal is to stop caring what people think of me. I’m one of those people that unless everyone likes me, I will die. I kind of want to get over that because you will have to piss people off and you will have to have some people dislike you. That’s the nature of life.

My career goal is marketing of some description. I want to work in the marketing strategy department where I can find the gap in the market.

Advice to people who are feeling stuck?

I’ve been stuck a lot. But I might suggest talking to the people around you. Of course, your experiences will never be the same as anyone else. But tap into that support network that you do have, and follow what feels right.

Don’t try to please everyone else, because in the end, you’re going to have to live with yourself. It’s not their life, it’s yours.


DAPHNE

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Uni student. MMSS President.

Daphne is the MMSS President at Monash Caulfield. She is an absolute force to be reckoned with. Her talents and passions just speak for themselves.

What do you do as the president of MMSS?

I’m in charge of overseeing everything—managing both the social and the professional sides of MMSS. It’s a lot of communication and people skills. It’s also about maintaining the external relationships with our stakeholders and making sure everything is running smoothly.

I also set the vision for MMSS. When I came in I wanted to change the whole culture issue we had, where I guess we didn’t seem that approachable.

I grew up in Greece, and I when I moved here I saw that there were these cliques that exist, and as well as experiencing hardships in my own life, I just wanted everyone to feel welcome.

Coming from Greece, how were you so confident to take on this role?

‘I owe everything I am to my parents, especially my mum. No matter what this woman goes through she can just integrate, be resilient, and just power on.

It’s about putting yourself out there and having confidence in your abilities. It’s fine if you’re a bit weird or you stand out. If I’m set on something, then I will do it. You can’t change my mind. If you see something you want to change, you’ve got to be the one to do it. And if it involves leadership then so be it.

How do you juggle everything?

My natural speed is naturally just 1000 miles an hour. In my eyes if I’m not doing too much, I’m not doing enough. I just don’t like to sit around.

One way to look at it is to take it one step at a time and learning what to prioritise. Because at the end of the day, it’s not like I’ll be able to do everything 100%. I’m only human.

Sometimes I need to take a break, because you also have to take care of yourself.

What have you learnt from your role as president?

One thing I learnt from MMSS that I was never going to learn from textbooks, was people dynamics. Because there’s a lot of politics in this role. You kind of just learn to handle human relationships, while being professional.

When I was doing a campaign it was a lot about strategy and learning about a target market. It opened my eyes that some stuff that we learn does apply, but when you actually put it to use, it’s so different. Here, there were actually things at stake. I learnt how to handle people, power dynamics and actually putting marketing to use. I was seeing the actual project come to life, and it was my little baby.

Do you have advice to students who struggle to do things outside of uni?

Definitely start now if you can, just because a piece of paper doesn’t differentiate you. Even the smallest of things—going to a uni event, meeting some people there. And just slowly working your way up.

It doesn’t even have to be uni based; it could be volunteering or a job. You need to get involved, because you’re going to have a way better experience than just going to class. Find a passion outside of uni and take it one step at a time.

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