Lucy Frank moved from a small country town in NSW to Miami on the Gold Coast. When she left Miami High School, she enrolled at Griffith University to study real estate.
Five years later, aged 23, she’s living in Coolangatta and now a Griffith graduate. In July she graduated with a business degree with full-time work already waiting in the wings. After a change in direction, her Bachelor of Business degree comes with a double major — in sustainable tourism management, and marketing.
Since her studies started on the Gold Coast campus, Lucy has also done some travelling. She’s experienced the snow of Canada, the beaches of Colombia, the cloud forests and the coffee plantations of Costa Rica. She’s visited Indonesia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Hawaii and New Zealand.
“Griffith provides so much information to students, but so few of them read it,” Lucy said.
“This year I was in Wellington, New Zealand, for the Aspiring Leaders Forum; I announced this in front of my class last semester and everyone in the room said: ‘How did you get on to that!’
“But everyone in the room had been sent the same email. They just hadn’t read it. So many students just don’t open their emails. I made a lot of applications and there were lots I didn’t get, but those I did were worth it — and it wasn’t hard. I had to write 200 words for the NZ trip about how it would benefit my studies, and provide a budget. That’s all.”
Gap year helps decision making
Lucy realised real estate was not the direction for her during her first year at university, so she took a gap year (the first of two) and made her first journey out of Australia, to the Canadian Rockies, to indulge her first love – skiing – and to train as a ski instructor.
A traveller was born.
Back home and back at university she jumped tracks. The flexibility that comes with studying at Griffith made it easy for Lucy to change majors from real estate to tourism management. Then came work from Gold Coast Adventure Travel Group — flagged in another of those Griffith emails that other students missed — and the opportunity to run a successful social media travel competition. Marketing joined tourism management as another degree major.
“Finding out what you don’t like is just as valuable as finding out what you do.”
The second gap year took her back to Canada and the snow, and to Central and South America. The Hawaii trip was a university exchange — through yet another email.
Her journeys are catalogued in a library of photos and destination guides in her blog: A Traveller’s Footsteps.
“It’s something I often say to people, especially coming out of school, when they don’t know what to do: I tell them to take a year off. Because if you study something you don’t like you’re wasting time and money when you could be getting some life experience.
Important to know what you don’t like
“And finding out what you don’t like is just as valuable as finding out what you do. I’m glad I did it. Now I’m ready for work.”
Other opportunities that came from ‘reading everything’ included a $2,500 scholarship prize from SKAL (the international organisation for travel professionals), numerous volunteering possibilities that opened doors to other work, and a Griffith Business School internship with the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation, organising a major fund-raising event. Now event management has joined a list of dreams she intends to realise.
Curiously, despite Lucy’s passion for snow and skiing, her favourite place in the world is one that has neither— and where she’s already lined up a full-time job.
Her five-year journey to graduation has ended with work at Griffith University; her travelling is now on hold — temporarily — as she embraces work on the ‘inside’, as a post-graduate professional.
“I love the Gold Coast; it’s the best place in Australia. And I love travel. Tourism is going to grow on the Gold Coast. It’s going to get better and better, especially with the Commonwealth Games coming and all the world-class surfing competitions… Oh yes, Lucy’s a surfer, too.
“And the importance of sustainable tourism — tourism that benefits the environment, the economy and the community — will grow into the future, not only here, but all over the world.”