I was told to take a seven month holiday I had no idea how to do that.

When I was told I had been allocated to the July intake of the cadetship it honestly took a while to process that I was essentially being told to take a seven month holiday. I really didn’t know what that meant. Coming to terms with it, I applied for a job on Hamilton Island and was successful in obtaining it, before receiving a call the next day breaking the news that I was being moved to January. It was the definition of an emotional rollercoaster.

Sunset at the Whitsunday Sailing Club
Sunset at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.


When I got the call that I had been offered the cadetship I was momentarily stunned. I hung up the phone and looked around my room for a while trying to let it set in. The next logical action was to call my mum. I told her what they said and then sat there silently for a while. I didn’t understand how surreal it would feel to get told you have got something that you have been wanting for so long.

We then had to wait to find out our intake. There are two intakes – January and July. Having started my flight training and achieved a Private Pilot Licence already, I really wanted to go straight in on the January intake. I was very concerned about recency and skill retention going that long without consistent flying. Also, my whole life since high school has just been go, go, go for so long and I didn’t want to stop that. I can’t really sit still for longer than a day.

Waiting the next week while the recruitment team decided the breakdown of intakes was surprisingly almost as hard as waiting to find out if we got the cadetship. We spent the whole week messaging each other to see if any of the cadets had heard anything. We were all a little on edge.

Griffith University Aviation students who accepted Virgin Australia cadetships
My friends from Griffith University who were also offered the cadetship, at the annual Griffith Aviation Awards Night in November.

Most of my friends ended up getting their call before me. It seemed like most of them were getting January and I was very happy for them. Scott and Abby, who have been dating for two and a half years, even got to stay together which was almost against all odds. But I was doing the maths in my head and my January prospects were not looking good.

Then my call came. I was told I had been allocated July.

I was a little bit confused by the news. I knew I was being silly stressing over my intake allocation, because I was so incredibly privileged to be offered a position in the program in the first place. It is one of the most amazing opportunities out there in Australia for an aspiring pilot at the moment and I really am over the moon this opportunity to fly for this fantastic airline.

I just couldn’t comprehend what I could possibly do for seven months. I was being told to take a holiday for the length of time that I could have just completed my previous flight training course. I felt like I was being told to just sit around and watch Netflix until the time came to start again.

There were only so many loads of washing to do and so many errands to run before I ran out of obvious things to do. I spent the following two weeks acting like a deflated pool floaty, moping around the house each day waiting for my roommates to come home so I could annoy them. I was a little bit lost.

The next weekend I flew to Mackay to visit my dad who is currently managing a golf club up there. We drove to Airlie Beach and then took a cruise to Whitehaven Beach to compete in the annual Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim. Random, I know.

The cruise took just over an hour and went through the picture perfect seas of the Whitsunday’s, stopping in at Hamilton Island to pick up some supplies on the way. I was just blown away by the whole trip. It was absolutely amazing. The waters were crystal clear and bright blue. There were fancy sail boats and yachts everywhere. It was full of families, couples and friends, all there to have an amazing time, and it really didn’t seem like there was any way that they could not.

Dad and I at Whitehaven Beach before the race.

Dad also pointed out the staff accommodation to me and how they all live in a central location with all staffing and recruitment for the island run by the group’s Hamilton Island Enterprises. A quick google search told me they have their own pool, gym, section of the beach and bar and they get to live there at a subsidised rate with rent coming out before tax. They even have someone specifically employed to organise and coordinate staff activities both on the island and on boats around the Whitsundays.

I then created the most masterful plan in my head to apply for a job on the island in hospitality (which I would hopefully have a chance for due to my hospitality background) and have a six month working holiday! The position I applied for and ended up interviewing for was to work in the six star restaurant as a premium food and beverage attendant. It sounded exciting. I was going to start on the 10th of December. All of a sudden, I had some direction.

Just as I was starting to pack up my room to get ready to move, I got a very unexpected call from Nathan Burkitt, the cadetship’s Line Manager. He asked me if I was still interested in starting in January. Shocked, I blurted out “500% yes”. Laughing, he told me that all the paperwork would come through at the beginning of the next week and we would go from there. One of the cadets that had originally been asked to start in January had decided to stay for the last semester of his degree and needed to switch to July, and I was their next call.

It was incredible news. Everything I was hoping for throughout the recruitment process lined up. I was so happy. I did have to send a very apologetic email through to Hamilton Island though for wasting their time.

The whole experience just taught me that literally nothing happens when you are sitting around waiting for it. My mum has always preached that everything happens for a reason and having it play out like this taught me a lot about myself. I learnt that I need to always be doing something to keep me occupied and happy; so even when I am stressed with life I need to remember that this is how I work best. I also found that I can always make my own opportunities, regardless of what is being offered at face value. When I finally came to terms with my intake, life turned around and offered me what I was hoping for anyway.

The only down side is that I have to get my wisdom teeth out now before I leave. I can’t avoid it any longer.

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