Suchi Vaghela

I am an ambitious womxn.

I’m an international student from India and been living away from my family since I was 14. I’m also a driven womxn with a fervent passion for STEM and a keen interest in public speaking and debating. I’ve been extremely lucky to have a support system that motivates me in all I do, every step of the way. Moving from India to Australia has been a major cultural change for me, and I learn numerous new things every day.


What's easy for womxn?

For us to come together and unite and uplift the sense of community. I also think we excel at ardently acknowledging and delivering help to those in need


What's difficult for womxn?

Even in Australia, this liberty paradise, as I like to call it, it’s quite heartbreaking to hear the stories of womxn like Brittany Higgins. Before I moved here, I always thought of Australia as being a highly safe place for women. While it relatively still is, I can’t help but feel slightly unsafe when I’m walking alone at night.


How do you maintain mental fitness/mental health?

I try and treat myself once a week, which is usually a Sunday. After I’m done studying, I laze for the rest of the day – watching movies, reading a good book or going for a drive with my uncles (my guardians). I also FaceTime my parents and family back home, which makes me forget about all my worries.


What brings you joy?

I honestly feel the happiest when I get good results after working very hard for something. Whether it’s an exam or building up to a personal record at the gym, I feel ecstatic when I know I’ve worked tremendously hard for this achievement.


How do you nurture your relationship with nature?

I try to go walking two or three times per week, usually around sunset. During that time, I put on some lo-fi music, get some fresh air, explore and appreciate all that the beautiful nature around me has to offer.


Where do you feel a sense of belonging/community?

My school. It is so diverse because of the international student program, and I felt like I blended right in when I moved here. My teachers especially make me feel so welcome that I am comfortable enough to talk about essentially anything in my life.


Where do you live/work?

I’m a year 12 student at Mitchelton State High School, living on Turball Jagera country.


How does it feel to be a young womxn finishing high school?

I am thrilled, but also slightly overwhelmed. Thrilled because being a senior and doing senior-y things like being the school captain, planning the school formal and having the younger grades look up to you is something I had always been eager for. But now that senior year is finally here, you realise how close you are to getting out there in the real world, which always makes me slightly anxious – but mostly in a good way.



What are your hopes for the future?

I hope to study medicine once I graduate high school, starting with a bachelor of biomedicine. Once it is safe enough to travel, I am also keen to embark on a solo holiday throughout Europe.



Best piece of advice from a woman?

I remember my mom telling me in 5th grade – “You, and only you are your competition. No one else.” So every time I find myself comparing myself to someone, I always think and reflect upon these words.


Describe an influential woman in your life

I’ve been very close to my mom all my life, and I’d even go as far as to say I’m a mini version of her. Growing up, she left for work around 7 am and came home around 8 pm. Apart from that, she went on week long work tours at least once a month. As a result, I’d spend most of my days with my grandma looking after me. At the time, the younger me felt neglected. Now that I’m older, I realise just how hard she works, so my brother and I can have everything we could ever want. To me, she’s the perfect epitome of strength, endurance and resilience.


Describe the cultural change you have noticed since coming to Australia

Moving to Australia has been the most significant change in my life so far. The culture, the people, the scenery– everything is just so different to what I grew up with. Given the diversity here, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with people from all across the globe with such rich cultures and languages. I perceive Australian culture, which has grown on me since I moved here, as using a lot of colloquial slang, eating classic delicacies like lamingtons and visiting the most picturesque beaches.

 

Connection

Suchi reminds us that our support systems are vital to our success as humans, we are completely social creatures. The sage advice from her mother has helped her to transition through significant change and helps us to realise that we each have the potential to become the centre of our own stable universe.


“You, and only you are your competition. No one else.”



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