Literature teacher Dr Jennifer Mitchell shares her love of active transport and the moment she thought she'd failed ... but found a glimmering silver lining.
Dr Jennifer Mitchell
What subject do you teach?
What do you enjoy most about working at Trinity College?
The most enjoyable thing about working at Trinity College is meeting so many young people from around the world every year and being part of their adventures in learning new things and being a student in Australia. I still enjoy meeting all my students for the first time, even after 14 years.
What are your favourite things about Melbourne?
My favourite things about Melbourne are connected to where I live. In the inner city it is easy to get to great places on a bike, a tram, or – if you’re adventurous – an e-scooter. In 15 to 30 minutes I can be in the city and visiting an art gallery or going for a walk in the botanic gardens.
The river Yarra (or Birrarung in the language of the traditional owners the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation) and Merri Creek are nearby, so I can walk or bike through wonderful natural places right in the middle of the city.
What is your favourite food?
My favourite food would have to be crumpets with peanut butter or honey. A crumpet is a very English, pan-cooked, yeasted (but not sweet) cake. I sometimes have them at cafes as a treat.
Give an example of a time when something started out badly for you but turned out for the best.
When I was in high school a tragic event meant I didn’t do very well, and I failed mathematics in Year 10. I wanted to be a biologist, or something in science, which meant I needed maths, so I felt like a failure. But later in life I got interested in literature and books, and after taking some university courses as an older student, I now have a PhD and this great job at Trinity College.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given?
Trust your own judgement on important questions about your own life. You will learn a valuable lesson if you make a mistake, but it will be entirely your own responsibility.
What would make the world a better place?
So many things, but in 2022, I think more people choosing, or being supported with good public transport and safe bike infrastructure to not drive a car (both petrol and electric) would make the world a MUCH better place.