School of Indigenous Studies

Rachel Fong


UWA Graduate 


I was never good at decision-making and it often takes me several hours to decide what to have for breakfast. 

So you can imagine the dilemma I faced when enrolling in university. First it was Exercise and Health, then Law, back to something along the lines of Nutrition, and then back again to Law but this time perhaps as a double degree... I eventually settled on the Bachelor of Commerce.

In hindsight, that decision was similar to the feeling you get when the breakfast you ordered is significantly better then everybody else’s at the table…you know that you made the right decision. To me Commerce is a wonderful degree because it has no limits and offers enormous versatility in the way job opportunities go. It teaches you the specific content of your chosen discipline - in my case Corporate Finance and Marketing, but it also teaches you things that you can use in any work based or personal situation: collaboration, communication and problem solving to name a few.

I grew up in Broome surrounded by my huge but amazing family; and although I went to boarding school in Perth during my high school years, I always continued to be strongly tied to the community. Corporate Finance I know sounds daunting and in all honesty it was hard work, but for me it was a key (there are many keys) to further unlocking the potential of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in my own and surrounding communities. I have always wanted to contribute to ‘closing the gap’ and I hope to one day use my knowledge and experiences so that our people have the confidence, know-how and opportunity to fully participate economically in society. From there I believe that we will be able to more effectively grow and share our culture with the world.

Studying commerce, or rather studying (anything, anywhere!) will give you great insight to an unlimited range of wonderful topics and subjects. I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned before it was hard work, I was a full time student working anything between 3-5 part time jobs at one time. But the sense of accomplishment and pride at the end is invaluable; and no matter what you study you will now have furthered your ability to make a difference.

I successfully graduated in 2013 and was fortunate enough to secure a graduate position in a very large and shiny building in the city. The graduate position is in HR and although it’s not what I studied and I am not immediately saving the world I am still enormously happy. Only a few months out of university and I learnt one of life’s hidden but invaluable lessons, your path (career, study or personal) doesn’t always have to be up, up and up…it’s okay to take a side step or two. You know that feeling when you order the poached eggs but afterwards decide you really should have ordered the pancakes…the eggs aren’t as sweet, though they still taste good.  I continue to work as an Indigenous Support Liaison at nights and carry on trying to contribute positively to the world.