Skye Nolan

Skye Nolan

My Career   I am currently working at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Working closely with doctors, nurses and patients, I coordinate a range of clinical trials aimed at improving outcomes for oncology patients by improving treatments. Prior to commencing at Peter Mac, I was working as […]

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Icebreaker

Icebreaker

By on July 15, 2016 in Toastmasters with No Comments

Tell me about yourself. Such a simple request. Invariably the first question when you go to a job interview but the most difficult to answer.

Where do I start? What can I tell you about myself? Well, one thing is that I have always been fascinated by genetics, and I studied this as one of my majors at university.

Like everyone else, I got half of my genes from my mum and half from my dad.
Although I am often told that I don’t look anything like my mum or my dad, I am more similar to them than sometimes I would like to admit!

Just like my mum, I love to shop. My mum and I can spend hours walking around Chadstone, stopping in every store, and having to return to the car three or four times to unload our shopping bags.

But if there is a gene for a bad temper, I definitely inherited that one from my mum. Throughout my life, my mum and I have had many arguments turn into screaming matches with doors slammed and feet stomped around the house. But as I have gotten older, I have realised that the reason we butt heads so much is because we are just so similar.

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From my dad I’ve inherited a love of learning, discovering the how and the why of everything.

This love of learning has taken me through ten years of university and four degrees – I guess you could call me a serial scholar. I just enjoyed the way one degree would open up a whole new area of interest that would lead me to the next degree. I started out at uni with an interest in Japanese and Genetics and finished up with a Master of Public Health. But no matter what the topic, my dad was always there with me until the early hours of the morning, frantically making the final edits before each essay deadline. Sometimes I think my dad ended up knowing more about the topic than I did!

I grew up with three sisters, so needless to say, our family home was never a quiet one! People always tell us how similar we are, but once you get to know us you will find out how different we can be.

My older sister is an innovator with big ideas. Teri focuses on the bigger picture, and doesn’t get caught up in the day-to-day details of things. I, on the other hand, love sorting the small details. I always plan ahead, never wanting to leave things to chance.

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When we were about 12 and 14 years old, my mum took Teri and me on a holiday to Hong Kong where she sent us off by ourselves for the day. Inevitably, being in a foreign country and being so young, we got lost. We wandered around searching for the right ferry to get on for what seemed like hours, until we managed to find a nice lady who spoke English and gave us directions. To Teri, that was an adventure, but to me it was an ordeal! But over the years I have learned from my big sister to face any challenge without trepidation and embrace the uncertainty of life.

The older of my two younger sisters has a creative streak, loves to write and play music. I wish that I could say that I was the creative type, that gene definitely skipped me. Despite many, many years of music tuition, I have to admit that I am a failed pianist, violinist, oboist, trumpeter and clarinettist!

But of all my sisters, I would say that Frances and I are the most similar. We share many interests and hang out together all the time. We have worked together, learnt cheerleading and pole dancing together, went to uni together, and even have the same clothes (as you can see tonight)! She always makes me laugh as she doesn’t take herself too seriously. I am continually learning from her the importance of being able to laugh at yourself.

Our youngest sister, who sadly passed away eight years ago, was the most outgoing of us all. Katie was a born-entertainer; she loved the spotlight and was never afraid to put herself out there. In comparison, I have always been rather shy. Perhaps one of the reasons for me coming to toastmasters is so that I can be more like her and not be afraid to stand up here in front of an audience.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that all four of us inherited our genes from the same mum and dad, but I am lucky to have sisters that I can also call my best friends.

In the end, it isn’t really genetics that is important. After all, humans share 50% of our DNA with bananas, 85% with zebra fish, and 98% with chimpanzees. In fact, it is only the 0.1% of difference between your DNA and mine that makes us unique.

And,ultimately, the bond that links your true family is not just one of blood, genes and chromosomes but of respect and joy in each others lives, and I am very thankful that I have that in my family.

NOTES:
After ten years of juggling work and study, I must admit that just working has been a strange adjustment. It’s still a strange feeling waking up on the weekend with nothing to do for the day, and not having to feel guilty for wanting to enjoy a mid-week drink with friends instead of starting that essay that’s due next week. I have always been someone who likes to be busy, to have many things going on at once. It’s not that I get bored with what I am doing, but rather I feel restless when being still for too long.

And for that reason I am always trying out new hobbies, but never really stay in anything long enough to get particularly good at it. Over the last few years I have been a cheerleader, learnt circus tumbling, done pole dancing and tried my hand at interior design.

What unites us is far greater than what divides us.

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