For Alison Hayes, Holmesglen will always hold a special place, as it was here that the path ahead of her became clear.
Disheartened by early high school experiences, it was at Holmesglen that Alison's passions and study goals met and she began to pursue her love of interior design. It is a field that has provided an opportunity and a setting where her creative spark has been encouraged.
"After completing year 11, I decided it was time to start feeling out a direction for a proper career. I knew what I wanted to do. Holmesglen not only popped up as one of the highest regarded for interior design [courses], but it met the needs for my financial situation too."
Anything worth achieving in life exists along a fine line between possibility and seeming unattainable. Holmesglen gave Alison the confidence to believe her goals were reachable. This dedication was recognised when she was named the Outstanding Diploma Student at the 2017 Holmesglen Awards Dinner.
"I had no idea what Holmesglen was going to do for me when I enrolled and I definitely didn't think I would get this far," Alison reflects.
"I was very emotional when I received the news that I was going to be a finalist for Outstanding Diploma Student 2016. I truly believe that recognition meant much more to me than just a certificate. It meant I was good enough and that all those years of fear because I was independent and paying my own way, thinking I would never amount to anything, were behind me because someone saw how hard I worked through my time at Holmesglen."
While studying, Alison benefited from the practical focus of her interior design course. She regularly participated in national design competitions and enjoyed preparing a submission for the re-designing of Moorabbin's Cilantro Restaurant. She also completed design work for a client on a residential renovation in Keysborough.
"I got to experience real nerves and real life questions from clients about the design and that is the most important thing I took from each competition," Alison says.
Adopting a trial and error approach to her designs, Alison believes interior design is a positive study choice for creative students, as it invites inspiration.
"Interior design is essentially a door that can open anywhere. If you stick with it and learn to love the chaos, I promise you'll love what the end will bring," she says.
With a qualification, an award and a wealth of work experience, Alison is now ready to follow her path, which she hopes will lead to creating a personally designed collection.