Mrdjen makes it as a “speechie”

I was born in Adelaide and grew up in the suburb of Magill, where I began my schooling. In 1999, my family and I moved to Port Lincoln. Both sides of my family have strong connections to the EP – my dad, as part of the Croatian community, and mum, as a Tumby Bay local.

I commenced school at St Joseph’s School Port Lincoln, where I made some lifelong friends and really felt part of the ‘family’. At St Joes I enjoyed music and Japanese – and in 2009 I travelled to Muroto as part of the Port Lincoln/Muroto delegation. I am excited to return someday soon and hope to continue to build our relationship as sister cities.

After graduating year 12 in 2010, I made my way back to Adelaide. I have always felt that I have two homes (Port Lincoln and Adelaide) which made the change much more exciting and luckily less daunting.

For the first three years of university I resided at Aquinas College, a place that a lot of other EP locals have called ‘home’. Here I made some wonderful friends and shared many fun bonding experiences, whilst feeling very well supported to continue my studies in a ‘home-away-from-home’.

I completed a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Flinders University. Living at Aquinas and studying at Flinders turned out to be a fair commute, but this allowed me to make some close uni friends that also happened to be G10 bus regulars.

Speech pathology – now that I look back it makes sense – from my mum I developed a love of languages and literature, from my dad a strong passion for delicious food. From my sister I learned that having patience for others (something that older siblings are required to learn) and showing kindness for one another are some of the most important things we can do in our lives.

After graduating from Flinders University in 2014, I returned back to Port Lincoln. Moving back was a big change in pace, but this allowed me some free time to engage in some volunteering work within the community.

I was able to return to St Joseph’s to participate in the Learning Assistance Program (LAP), which was great fun. In 2015 I commenced work as a real-life, fresh out of uni, new-grad ‘speechie’. I have been fortunate to experience both health and education roles within the Port Lincoln and wider Eyre Peninsula communities.

As a speech pathologist I assist many different people (aged from 0 to 100+) with communication and swallowing difficulties.

Personal experiences within my family and friendships have instilled a passion for helping others to achieve their goals, which in my role as a speechie may include talking and understanding, engaging with other people and being able to participate in mealtimes. Life back on the EP has allowed me to be open to new experiences; developing new friendships and strengthening old ones.

I am currently involved as a director on the Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation board, and am the current president of the Lower Eyre Peninsula Young Tradespeople and Professionals group (a.k.a. YTAP).

I feel privileged to be a part of this community and to feel such a strong sense of ‘belonging’. Roles within YTAP and EPCF have allowed me to continue to share this with others. I am excited for a future of positivity, travel, and new experiences – and I know Port Lincoln will always be a place to call ‘home’.

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