Alumni Club turned its focus to ‘Resilience’ today, with a panel session featuring former students Liz Harrop (Class of 1971) and Jordan Clarke (Class of 2010).

Chaired by Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Jess Neale, the conversation delved into the struggles that life inevitably throws our way and how we can stay positive and look after ourselves when life throws us a curve ball.

Liz talked about her early career in Special Education and the years she spent working in Social Integration Centres dealing with a whole range behavioural and social issues. She also shared her journey with illness, both with breast cancer and MS.

Liz stressed how important it is to change our perception when things get tough.

“I try to find the ‘funny’ in everything—the silver lining,” she said. “After my mastectomy in 2008 I held a ‘bye bye booby’ party. We has cupcakes that looked like breasts and raised money for breast cancer research. It was a really empowering things to do.”

Jordan shared the story of his young daughter’s illness and the life-changing effect it had on his family. He talked of stress that the endless tests and hospital visits placed on he and his partner and the need to focus on the things he could control.

“There’s always a positive in every situation,” he said. “We’ve had such wonderful times as a family amidst the heartache. We try to really focus on the good times.

“The other thing that helps me is to focus on helping others. It can make the best of any situation.”

Liz urged the students present to become good listeners.

“Listen more than you speak,” she said. “You have two ears and one mouth for good reason. And remember, you’re number one. You have to look after yourself first and foremost.”

A huge thank you to Liz and Jordan for sharing their stories with such care, honesty, and humour. And to Heather Ryall (also from the Class of 1971) who joined Liz for today’s session. IT was great to hear Liz and Heather discussing their Bendigo High days.