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Open Right

Luke Ryan: Cancer, Comedy and Career Choices

Session Info:

After getting the highest TER in his year, Luke thought he knew exactly what his life was going to look like: study Law and Arts for five years at the University of Western Australia, get into a good firm and spend the rest of his life performing in front of judges and juries while earning the sort of salary that could buy one a tropical island.

But when Luke arrived at university, he quickly realised two things: 1) He really hated Law; 2) He really, really loved doing plays with the University Dramatic Society. Queue four years of plummeting grades, existential angst and long bouts of overseas travel to try and avoid making any decisions about his future.

His eventual saviour: cancer.

Diagnosed with cancer again at the age of 22, Luke saw in the eight month enforced “holiday” an opportunity to dedicate himself to his true loves – writing and stand-up comedy.

While most people (fortunately) won’t need to rely on a tumour to help them find their way, Luke’s story is an all too relatable one of unexpected turns and changing life priorities. In a lively, funny and interactive format, Luke helps students come to terms with approaching exams, university applications and vocational quizzes, and to realise that in the end it’s not what score you get that matters – it’s finding the thing that makes you happy and then attacking it with everything you’ve got.

Topics covered

  • Finding your passion
  • The unexpected adventure of life
  • The ever-changing nature of “you”
  • Making the best of bad situations
  • Leaving school is the beginning, not the end
  • Trusting your instincts

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