Snowy Mountains Grammar School Alumna (Class of 2014, Mowamba House), Julia Weber, is a Newcastle University student studying a combined Bachelor of Business (Leadership and Management)/Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree. Julia is passionate about improving the financial literacy of young people.
Julia is a student ambassador for the University of Newcastle Finance Lab and is writing a financial literacy course that she is delivering in high schools right across her region. Julia is also working on an app to enable young people to find funding for small business ideas.
Julia’s work in the financial literacy sector has seen her being named as a finalist in the 2020 NSW Young Women of the Year Award. To vote for Julia, please go to:
Julia credits the leadership opportunities she had at SMGS for helping to shape her into the woman she has become and is grateful for the personal development she experienced while a student at SMGS.
- What tertiary education path did you follow after you graduated from SMGS? How did you become interested in improving financial literacy?
I initially received early entry to Macquarie University through the Principal’s Recommendation Scheme and studied a Bachelor of Business there for about a year before relocating and transferring to the University of Newcastle, studying a combined Bachelor of Business (Leadership and Management)/Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree. I became interested in financial literacy after my own struggles grappling with the monetary challenges of being a ‘grown-up’! I felt ill equipped and that I needed formal training (outside of my household) but struggled to find support so I decided to try and contribute to this area. I became a Student Ambassador for my university’s Finance Lab. I now teach high school and university students about the basics of financial literacy and it’s an absolute dream.
- What is your biggest source of motivation for your career and life pursuits?
My biggest motivation, for as long as I can remember, has been a desire to contribute positively to the lives of others. I love falling asleep at night knowing that I’ve helped someone during the day, and it makes me spring out of bed each morning knowing that I may be able to teach someone something, and I will learn something in return. This outlook has created a lot of career opportunities for me so far, as well as a few rewarding volunteering pursuits. I am currently setting up a business for when I graduate university in June to assist business owners and professionals find their true passion in life, and helping them to shape their work around that passion. I’m very excited about it.
- What are some of your most memorable moments from your time at SMGS?
My most memorable moments stemmed from the diversity of the experiences I was able to enjoy. I had been at school in Sydney, and moving down to an environment where I could enjoy not only the snowsports, but equestrian, dragon boating and such a friendly, community-focused netball comp were fantastic. As a student, I am still grateful for the great relationships I was able to form with each of my teachers, especially during my HSC. I couldn’t have achieved what I have without those teachers. I also look back fondly on the ‘Say No to Bullying’ day I organised in Year 12, and the debating competition my fellow Academic Prefect and I helped facilitate. Above all, though, the friendships I formed with my fellow students of all year groups were just incredible and I still remain friends with a lot of those people today.
- How did your time at SMGS help you in your journey to becoming interested in financial literacy? What programs and co-curricular opportunities did you participate in?
I think my teachers were instrumental for a few reasons – firstly, they helped me manage my workload so that I could have a part-time job which I stressed was really important to me. They helped me to develop that ability to juggle and balance. Secondly, they gave me confidence to present, in particular Ms. Anne Jones, who encouraged me to participate in the Maria Kisich Public Speaking competition and Mr. Tim Bland, who assisted me in developing my speeches. Finally, every single teacher I interacted with at SMGS encouraged me to push through self-doubt and give things a go. I will always remember talking to ‘Doc’ about whether to keep pushing through with Physics and Chemistry in the HSC, and he said, “Julia, if you are committed and willing to put in the hard work, there is absolutely nothing you can’t achieve.” These were the conversations that formed my current belief that I am capable of making a positive change if that’s what I’m committed to doing. I think I gave just about every extra-curricular activity a go – sport, academic and otherwise.
- What advice would you give to students who are beginning their HSC journey and starting to think about their adventure after they graduate?
My advice would be to not let people tell you what you should do, but let them help you try things out. This next step is not about deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life – it’s about getting yourself into a position where you can try out a whole lot of things so you can make your next move. Keep an open mind, talk to as many different people and gain as many different opinions as you can and give things a go. If there is a spark of interest about something, follow it!
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