For Gillian, there was no escaping her passion for music.
“When I was choosing a degree, I looked at lots of other options but I’d just go around in a big loop and end up back with music, so I knew I really wanted to do this.”
Gillian enrolled in a Bachelor of Music at the ANU School of Music, majoring in composition, and loved it. However she soon discovered a new passion she didn’t even know about – for development– and says she realised she didn’t have to “stick with just one thing.”
“So I added a second degree. That’s the good thing about flexible double degrees: if you have another interest in something else, you pursue that as well. A lot of people think you have more work, but it’s just spread across the two degrees. And it only takes four years to complete both – that’s pretty good!
“I also wanted to give myself more skills because music composition is very specific, and it might be hard to find work in it because it’s so competitive. The more skills I have, the better.”
Gillian hopes to combine her two specialisations and work on music projects that strive for social change, in juvenile detention centres and in Indigenous communities, for example.
“I’m starting as early as I can to bring the two together. For example, I can do a course called ‘Music and Globalisation’ which is just perfect. I’ve tried to pick courses all along the way that help me. It’s good to start thinking about the direction you want to go from your first year, even if you end up changing tack along the way.”
Gillian now has majors in music composition and sociology, and a minor in German. She says she particularly enjoys sociology “because you can start applying it straight away, just from your observations of human interactions.”
And she has been applying it already, combining her sociology skills with her musical talent in her band called Blonde Friand.
“We write funny songs, making little observations about society. I’ve just written a song about having a crush on your boyfriend’s best friend.”