Seize Every Creative Opportunity: Karen Tho Making the most of University Experiences

Karen Tho - Class of 2018, is working towards turning her passion for film and photography into a career. She is currently in her 2nd year at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, studying a Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) degree. During her time at TIS, Karen was actively involved in committees and extracurricular activities. She was always a willing volunteer at school events and her camera was never far from her side, earning her the nickname “the camera girl”. Karen interned at the School in 2018 and 2019 while she waited for the Australian school year to start. In the latter months of 2019, she created a series of videos featuring staff who work “behind the scenes” at TIS. The videos will be featured over the next few weeks on the school website and social media platforms.

What challenges/highlights have you experienced at university?

I think the biggest challenge that I had to overcome was stepping out of my comfort zone. I am very much an introvert so going to social events and parties are just not my thing but I pushed myself anyway. I wanted to experience new things and this is the perfect time for that. By doing so, I have improved my social skills, created new memories and got to eat a lot of free food. 

 Ironically, some of the best highlights that I’ve experienced at university are things that I’ve done during my days off from classes. I became a member of the university's photography club. Through the club I was able to make new friends, expand my industry connections and was invited to many events. Through my own internship and voluntary work I got to visit the headquarters at JetStar, the Mercedes Me store, and attend a small fashion event. To top off my highlights to date, I landed a wedding videography job, and was also invited to become a LifeHacks Ambassador, both were opportunities I never thought I would experience.

How did TIS help to prepare you for university and life in general after high school?

TIS exposed me to many different cultures prior to my move. It helped me get over the culture shock quicker than I expected and I was able to have a wider perspective which helped a lot in my own studies. TIS also gave me a lot of opportunities to boost my own creative career. I honestly don’t think that I would’ve gotten this far in the industry without the work experiences that I gained at TIS. 

What are your fondest memories of your years spent at TIS?

Experience week; school events(dress down days, CNY celebration, Halloween haunted house etc); the hot dogs and baked goods sold at community day; and being known as “the camera girl”. 

What advice do you have for grade 12 students at TIS who will be starting their university career? 

It’s ok to be lost and confused, I still am even though I will be graduating in a year. For most of you, you are starting a new life in a new place. It is your first time living away from home and doing adult things on your own. There is an emotional ride ahead of you. Don’t beat yourself up too much about things not going perfectly according to your plans. Allow yourself room to breathe and relax. I was told that time passes by really quickly at uni and this is very true, so embrace all the ups and downs. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully, I will have found myself a nice little creative job and be free from writing essays and doing class readings. 

What inspired you to make the videos?

During my internship with TIS, I was working with staff from different departments. It was only then I realised how much time and effort was spent behind the scenes to keep the school running smoothly. I wanted to use my creative skills to capture these moments and give credit to the hardworking staff.  

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