Young Old Girl Feature: Ailsa Harris (Class of 2017) - follow your passion

Somerville House Old Girl from the Class of 2017, Ailsa Harris, puts her early success following school down to "always believing that it is important to follow your passion with dedication and focus but remain adaptable to change when you need to be". She recently featured on a panel of Old Girls that spoke to the graduating Class of 2021 about what to expect in the years ahead. Here, she shares her journey so far:

Since graduating from Somerville, I have had some wonderful opportunities to continue the same passions that I had at school.

I was always very involved in music and performance, as well as being Somercircle Captain in my final year, and these have all continued to be my focus in post-Somerville life. Some of the most rewarding times are when I can combine these passions, such as signing with the St John’s Cathedral Singers and frequently as a guest of the Cathedral Choir. I have also recently been accepted as a committee member of the Royal School of Church Music. 

In music and performance, I was fortunate enough to successfully audition as a dancer for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, which was such an exciting experience in my first few months out of school.

After initially commencing a more generalised Bachelor of Arts with a major in music, I have now transferred to a full Bachelor of Music at UQ, with honours in performance in flute. I have performed with UQ Chorale, Chamber Singers and the Flute Ensemble, which has included some highlights such as Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace at QPAC. I also perform with the Brisbane based chamber orchestra, The Amadeus Orchestra in delightful venues such as Old Government House. 

My goal is to teach classroom and ensemble music, so I am also completing a Bachelor of Secondary Education and currently have some wonderful private flute students.

As a side hustle, I operate a small business called Ailsa Productions, that in addition to music, includes videography for corporate videos and sports videos for Churchie and St Margaret’s.

I also work part time at one of Australia’s largest recruitment companies, which in addition to providing some great corporate experience, gives some financial independence (which is terrific, because I love to travel when we can).  

Connect with Ailsa on LinkedIn here. 

Three words of wisdom I'd give my year 12 self now:

1. Seize every opportunity you can while you are at school. Somerville offers so many activities, clubs and experiences, so make the most of them. 

2. Follow your passions and be prepared that you won’t always succeed the first time you try. If it’s important to you, refocus and have the courage to persist.

3. Treasure your friends. You’ll be delighted how many special times and events you will share with them, while reminiscing about some of the great memories from school. These people will be your cheerleaders through life. 

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