Youth Corner: Making the Best out of the Pandemic By Rowen Fernandopulle
When I moved from Sri Lanka to Brisbane in February of 2020 to pursue my higher education, I was excited to get started on this new chapter in my life. However, little did I know a pandemic will hit the following month and have other plans for me.
Being someone who was a self-proclaimed introvert, being in lockdown didn’t affect me negatively. It was great to have some time for myself and to focus on studies, all from the comfort of my room. One day I decided to start trying some new things as I had a lot of time in my hands, searching my university’s student portal I came across a student mentor volunteering role. I decided to apply for it even though I had no confidence whatsoever, and was horrible at public speaking. As such, I would not have been the ideal “mentor” for students. But I knew I had to take that leap to step out of my comfort zone and fight my fears. As time passed by, I noticed myself being more outgoing and started getting involved in a bunch of clubs and programs.
One of those clubs was the QUT Sri Lankan Students Association, which, without a doubt, made me a completely different person compared to who was a year ago. Joining the executive committee as the social media coordinator really gave me a chance to express my creativity in graphic design, helped me learn about the different social media platforms and most importantly it gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of new people who are some of my best friends today. Adding onto this, as one of my hobbies ever since I was 10 years old was photography, I decided to bring my camera to club events and take photos to showcase on our social media channels, which was one of the best decisions I had made. Having no experience in event photography, these photos I took at our club events acted as a portfolio of my work, which helped me land my first photography gig in Brisbane. The more I photographed at these events the more people I met, and they would let me know how much they like my photography and would later hire me to take photos of their birthdays or personal events. It has been a surreal experience because from the time I came here, I did not think I will be running my own freelance photography business, RF Photography.
Don’t get me wrong. Although it seems everything’s going great, it does get lonely at times. From not being able to see my parents in person or not being able to have those late-night conversations with my sister, I have come to appreciate the things I took for granted. One thing about this pandemic: I am grateful for is the mental fortitude I have developed and the person it has moulded me into. My message to anyone reading this is that tough times like this won’t last forever. However, whenyou are faced with uncertainty, make the best out of it! Surround yourself with likeminded people and never be afraid to try new things
Rowen is a student at the Queensland University of Technology
working towards his Bachelor in Information Technology. His
passions are Photography, Technology, Content Creation, and
Design. He is the founder of RF Photography (https://