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THEIR STORIES / Nikoletta, Moudros, Lemnos
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Whatever you do, do it with passion and love

Nikoletta from Moudros, Lemnos
PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS - High School of Moundros, Lemnos
16 July, 2023

Nikoletta is 18 years old and has just graduated High school in Moudros,Lemnos, where she lives with her parents and sister.

Always active, she likes to engage in various hobbies.She particularly enjoys being involved in the arts, specifically photography and music, as well as singing and playing various stringed instruments! She also loves reading and always seeks out to go on walks with her friends!

As Nikoletta shares, she has just received her final exam results and has been admitted to University, to the Department of Mechanical Engineering!

However, Nikoletta's journey to her university admission has not been simple nor without twists and turns, "My experience with the national [final exams] started  in the 1st grade of High School or maybe even earlier, in the 3rd grade of Junior High School." At that time, Nikoletta was geared towards admission to military schools. She recounts contemplating “immediate rehabilitation and the various privileges of the military" while she adds "it is really understandable for a child, for these very reasons, in current times, to choose this profession". With this goal in mind, Nikoletta at first chose to devote herself to the positive sciences, "a field that initially did not really suit me, physics, mathematics, chemistry, but that I grew to love because I saw that there is more to it aside from the military schools".

Already having some doubts about her future career, Nikoletta, although oriented towards military schools, sought to learn and to be exposed to different possibilities and professional disciplines. "In 1st grade I was actively seeking opportunities for such interactions, from a professional point of view." One of her teachers at school, realizing her need for more outreach opportunities, suggested that she participate in The Tipping Point program that was being implemented at her school at the time. "I started the sessions with the other kids and my teacher, and I could really see that I was starting to break free from the “boxed” way of thinking and anxiety" that she was experiencing until then. In the following years Nikoletta was able to meet many different professionals, "The first session I remember attending was medicine, which I wasn't really interested in, but it made me think about paramedical professions. In the 2nd grade of High School we talked with pilots, aviators, physicists", "I had the chance to be exposed to so many professions, which gave me the opportunity to understand that some [professions] might not interest me, to broaden my horizons professionally and to understand that there is a life for me outside of military schools".

Reflecting on her impression of the program and the new options it had presented to her, she comments "These kinds of programs really deserve to exist, starting in high school. 3rd grade and 2nd grade of high school is too short a time for a child to understand what they should do regarding their future." She goes on to recount her own story "I realized, unfortunately late,in February of 2023, that I didn't want to apply for military schools", "I announced it to my parents and as always they supported me, that's the best part for me. I told my mom that I wanted to stop and look for something else. And I really did search and I think it was the best choice I could have ever made, and The Tipping Point is responsible for that," , she goes on to explain: "it was the honest answers [from the mentors] that helped me develop my own opinion about my career path."

From the moment Nikoletta made up her mind, she actively began searching for a new goal, inspired by what she had heard and learned over the past few years by talking to people from different disciplines. Continuing her sessions at The Tipping Point she didn't let a day go by without asking her questions, "I didn't stop, I asked about everything! And I was doing that precisely  because they had given us the freedom to do so." As she explains, she wasn't the only one looking for answers. Her classmates were also in search of their own path. "We used to ask "Use up our breaks, our PE classes, so we can have more time for The Tipping Point!", we really needed it, especially me who started looking for another career in February! I mean, it wasn't just the stress to perform well in the finals,but to also quickly  find a goal!"

Nikoletta particularly highlighted a session she attended in her 3rd year of high school that determined her decision in her choice of studies, "She [the mentor] was a PhD in Chemistry and had graduated from the Patras Chemistry School", "She had worked abroad, she had done a PhD, she had worked with companies, factories, had a remarkable CV and we interviewed her about almost everything!" As she explains, the mentor spoke to them about her studies, from university laboratory work to Erasmus programmes and her experiences as an employee. "I was ecstatic because that's what I want: to keep learning!", admitting that this mentor was the reason she decided to pursue chemistry. "When you realize [the mentor] has done so much you say why couldn't I do it too!"

But it was not only the search for a profession that occupied Nikoletta’s mind. As part of her participation in The Tipping Point she was able to approach the topic of employment as a whole "We had a session about soft skills; what a future employee should essentially bring to the table: teamwork, harmony, cooperation, the ability to understand and read the people around you" and adds "This was very important for me because it also helped me in my interpersonal relationships, to start reading people, to understand their needs, and by understanding their needs being able to also help myself". As Nikoletta tries to recall all that the mentors shared with her and her classmates, she opens up her notebook, where she has kept the most important pieces of advice that resonated with her and shares some of them: "By going after our goals, we build ourselves", "I'd rather lose and know I tried than not have tried at all", "[it's important] not to have an one-sided perspective in life, but rather have hobbies and interests" and many more. "When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I sit down and read them."

Nikoletta comments on her entire experience at The Tipping Point and the value it added in her own journey. "A program that has been created to proactively address the needs of adolescents. It was really what helped me choose a field of study and gave me the strength to continue. When you know that you have other opportunities and the national exams are not the only thing you can do, it's very reassuring" and continues "Apart from advice given regarding our studies and university choices, I very much cherish advice on social issues.

I wouldn't want to be trapped in a profession that doesn't fulfill me, only doing it for the profit, and that's a thought that the mentors have helped me understand and I really thank them so much because they have contributed to our lives, to young children who are just starting out, they have contributed so powerfully, but they really may not understand how powerful that impact has been in our lives and it's really touching."

"I would like to close with one piece of advice that I hope will define my professional and student life, 'Whatever you do, do it with passion and love. Because if you don't love it, you won't actually do it!"


About TTP

The Tipping Point (TTP) is an NGO aiming to empower today’s youth to enhance their consciousness, when they are called to make their once-in-a-lifetime decisions, ultimately preparing them for the workplace of tomorrow and to make learning more experiential, engaging and relevant to real life.

With the help of technology, students and teachers set the agenda of their meetings with professionals worldwide who interact with the students via live video and/or asynchronous video-responses.

Through a secure and structured digital environment, students on islands, in remote regional villages, marginalized urban areas or large cities, broaden their horizons and choices, receive answers to their questions from professionals worldwide - it could be doctors and farmers from a village nearby, or a NASA engineer from Florida - whom otherwise they could never meet.
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About THI Australia

The Hellenic Initiative Australia (THI Australia), is a non-profit organisation operating at a national level. Its mission is to bring together Greek Australians and philhellenes to contribute to the recovery and revitalisation of Greece.

By partnering with innovative non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Greece, THI Australia aims to implement programs that offer immediate relief, foster social and economic benefits, and create a lasting positive impact on Greek society. Since 2015, THI Australia has dedicated more than $1.7 million to various projects and initiatives in Greece, collaborating with eleven inspiring partner NGOs.

These efforts primarily focus on four key areas: Health, Social Services, Education, and Employment Pathways. Starting in 2019, THI Australia started a collaboration with The Tipping Point, initially involving three pilot schools.

Over the years, the number of participating schools has expanded, thanks to tailored approaches designed for Greek Australian Associations and individuals interested in supporting schools in specific regions of Greece. Associations and individuals have provided support to schools located in different areas such as Kastellorizo, Crete, Kalamata, and Kos.
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Join us in empowering each & every student, even at the most remote Aegean island, to consciously take their once-in-a-lifetime decisions, by enjoying the TTP experiential journey. One classroom at a time.