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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.



“I’m 23, turning 24.

At the moment I’m still looking for work. It’s funny - I’ve sort of got a love/hate relationship with the supermarket I work at. I sort of love the people there and being able to work there and even the customers that come in too – I’m starting to get to know some regulars - but I hate the procedures.

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After school, I was pretty worried about what I was gonna do. I still am. I felt like the doors to life had been opened up and I’m like, “Yeah, great. Now I’ve got to pick.” Because at the time I had picked classes and that at school but they were already laid out on a piece of paper, you know? “This is what you can pick from”. And coming out of it was like … there’s no paper there! It’s like, you’ve got to go look now. And I think the nerves of trying something new and thinking, ‘What do I want to do? What happens if THIS? What happens if THAT?’ … It was getting too much in my head.

At the time I was thinking I wanted to combine two things that I really loved: sports and helping guide young people. So, I thought, ‘I’ll be a PE teacher!’

One of the happiest moments of my life was when I was accepted into Newstep, which would help me get into uni. Even though, you know, it may not seem like a massive thing, it made me feel accepted and wanted. And I was thinking, now my parents can be, like, “Look at what he did! I’m so proud.”

And that was such a big thing for me.

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But second semester I failed cause at the time - I blame it on this, but it wasn’t just this - I found out that my cousin had become quite sick. And then we found out later he had cancer. But at the time he was just, like, wrecked. And we kept telling him, ‘Go to the doctor. Go to the doctor.’

I just stopped paying attention to the class that I had. But I think it was also a bit of disinterest in the class I was in too.

So, I didn’t get an ATAR. But I’m learning to find acceptance and purpose elsewhere.

One place is my family. They’re understanding but they also seem to have this way of saying, ‘Get back on the horse. Stop being ‘mopey’ and just get up and do something’.

I’ve also got a group of friends who I play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) with. We play that on a weekly basis. We go through a funny story and something will happen and we’ll be just laughing our heads off. I think I’ve made five new friends just this year from that.

And the other place is church. I’ve been there for so long now. I’m part of the band. And even if you’ve had, you know, a pretty dodgy week or been pretty down that week, I can always come to church and feel like, you know, I belong there. And more than that, I can just lay my worries to rest and just play the best that I can and help people engage with God again. I don’t know where I would be today if I didn’t have that relationship.”