Thomas Picone - Author to be

“The most powerful thing emerging from our rural communities is the people, their minds, their passions. If we take these passions, we can make something from ourselves and our mistakes” – CEP Youth Rural Alumni, Thomas Picone.


I take this phrase from an outspoken, impromptu moment I had at our last CEP meeting when asked about my experiences of Uni in the last few years. Mind you, I hadn’t attended any meetings or forums in quite some time. Phil wanted to gauge everyone’s differences in post-school “life directions”, I suppose you could call it. 


Personally, I graduated from Timboon P-12 School with Dux – the title gained when one apparently attains the highest aggregate marks out of every student in their class or school. I will still challenge that useless title. If you’re wanting to know the truth of it, there’s some nice benefits (looks great on a resume and some monetary plusses), but it left with me a feeling of serious apprehension. Now I had to wow every single time; I had to study Law as I proved myself a good arguer. Something like that. 


But I wanted to ignore those views, these ideas; I decided to study a Bachelor of Creative Arts at La Trobe. A course that didn’t even require an ATAR. “I must be insane”, “ha-ha wasted talent”, “why writing?” are questions I’m always asked. I loved writing, so I decided to ignore the Title, the marks, and move away. 


I’m now headed to my 3rd Year, still unsure of myself. Last year was the craziest learning experience I’ve ever had in my life. And to tell it honestly, most of the educating taking place all happened at home – outside of an institution. From family illness, moving three times in one semester, and having so little money I couldn’t afford rent or food on some occasions; I’ve learnt a lot. I barely even attended Uni second semester; couldn’t afford to waste money on the damn travel costs. 

In my depression and my falling, I looked to my partner and their wavering strength, my mother and her limitless passion – and tried to look forward to the next day. Always the next day, hoping, praying; maybe a job, maybe a sudden grant of money. Dreaming of tasting real food that wasn’t frozen pizza, bread; food death. Of not feeling like every cent and part of my existence must be fought for.


At this moment, I’ve got two jobs, one in retail and another in hospitality. I can afford and eat real food. And I might actually make it to Uni for learning these days. I am proud of myself and I put this to sheer effort, passion and determination of heart. Maybe the tears were worth it.


How else would I have made it this far?

I think we should take these lessons. Our strongest weapon is people’s individual minds and wills, and if we put together all this power, we can make change happen. It won’t just be a stagnant thought or worry no longer. Take it from someone who had no money and is continuing to study a degree with no clear job prospects.

 Turn the words and worries you have into action, flip it into progress and empower yourselves. 


** Thomas Picone, La Trobe University.

Author Goals Today:

I am seeking to be an author of fantasy, sci-fi works and creative nonfiction. I also am looking at the voice acting and the film industry for inspiration in other ways.