Where Are They Now - Jakob Baric
author: Lorrie Liston
The College reconnects with Jakob Baric (SPC 2008-13) who is finding success after switching university paths and still loves the marching band.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
Straight after graduating from SPC I attended RMIT University studying a Bachelor of Psychology (Social Sciences) for 2014 whilst working in hospitality, and had very poor results; I failed half of my subjects and had no clear goal in mind for my future. I then took a leave of absence for the entirety of 2015 and first half of this year (2016). During this time, I travelled with my best friend around Europe for almost a month and spent the rest of the time working 30-50-hour weeks in hospitality.
I’ve spent most of my work at two venues: one, a restaurant in Williamstown, and another a gastro-pub in Fitzroy, and I’ve learned so much at those places. From pushing my physical limits in terms of lack of sleep, to networking with high profile customers, and my huge appreciation for food and wine now, I’ve grown as a person immensely. I’m particularly proud of my current place in Fitzroy: I’m working and competing with staff whose average age is between 28-40, and get to work with some of literally the world’s best quality chefs.
As of July 2016 I re-enrolled with RMIT but under their Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) degree and terminated my application for Psychology. So far, I’m loving it. I have clear goals and my grades are the total opposite in comparison to my time in Psychology. Having that time outside of institutionalised education gave me a broader world view and perspective.
Outside of work and education, I’ve also just been to Hong Kong with a concert/marching band that I’ve been involved with since Year 10. That was my third international tour with them and it was so much fun. We’re going to Shanghai next year on an almost-all-expense-paid trip for China’s National Marching Band Festival.
What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
I’ve been to Ballarat since leaving SPC probably a total of six to seven times in the past three years, so I’ve forgotten much about it. But there are two particular moments that I enjoyed. First was when I performed with the Stage Band in Year 9 under Mr Alwert’s conducting for (I think) Speech Night. Specifically, when we played the chart “The Chicken”; that performance was the first time that I ever loved the experience of performing: the energy the band had, the piece we were playing, the lights, being on stage, all of it. Mr Alwert really laid the foundation of my appreciation for jazz/funk music and being able to see him proud of us was really satisfying.
Second is, again in Year 9, is when my team in the Div 4 for rowing won our race at Boat Race. I’ll always look back at rowing with a bittersweet feeling: the training is stupidly hard, but the satisfaction of winning is one of the greatest feelings I’ve felt. Rowing at St Pat’s – although only for a short time – defined my attitude toward competition and my internal goals. It taught me to push through my mental boundaries and to try to be the best that I can.
Otherwise, I’ll always remember “The Lads” - Ben, Sam, Harry, Hugo, Tim, Leigh, and Nic. Together, we eight boys formed a friendship group around the finish of Year 11 (2012) and throughout Year 12 (2013). I have so many memories of all fun little things that you sort of forget after a time, but then they start to slowly drift back into memory when you reminisce about them, you know? We still all see each other and have a Facebook group chat that we want to last until we are old and decrepit.
There are still hundreds of memories or times I could mention, but these are what first come to mind.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
I don’t think any single teacher had a greatest impact. Throughout my years I’ve always tried to take knowledge from a wide spread of people – everyone has their unique brand of knowledge. So it would be fairer to say that my Year 12 cohort of teachers are the ones who had the greatest impact: each one had a different role in my life and I feel are equally important to me. I really enjoyed connecting with them for that year and hope that I can see them at a reunion or something in the near future.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
Yes and no. In a purely academic manner, I’ve yet to work professionally based on the merits of my studies. However, when you take into account my entire schooling life – academia, music, discipline, the experience of VCE, study, my teachers, SPC, etc – then I believe that it has definitely shaped me into the person I am today. I take my yearning to be the best in what I do into my workplaces, and absorb every shred of information that I can like a sponge. For example, regarding wine, I had absolutely zero knowledge about it when I started at that restaurant in Williamstown… But after two-three months I’d read through an entire wine encyclopedia that they had there and was able to make better evaluations on food/wine pairings than all bar 1 or 2 staff. I took my drive for success and applied it to my current job…. It sounds like rubbish to any normal person, but even in hospitality you have professionals that have worked in it for decades and have forgotten more about food/wine than the average person will ever even think of. My education caused me to have a great respect for knowledge, and the people who hold it.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
In a funny way my time at SPC made my family become accustomed to having me out of the house for days at a time. I often boarded during my schooling and was always doing extra-curricular activities. So even from Year 7, mum and dad had learned that I wouldn’t be home as often as I used to be: through SPC I cultivated an active and busy lifestyle. In present times, I go to uni from 12pm (midday) to 12am (midnight), sleep during the mornings, and go to work. So I hardly see my family because of how our schedules clash. I’m juggling an average of 30 hours/week of work, my commitment to my concert/marching band, my girlfriend, university, and exercise. Plus, I try to attend career events/seminars when I can, and plan to do volunteering/internships during uni holidays. I live an independent, hard-working, and busy life.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Be the best that you can at everything that you do. Even if you’re doing your homework, or if you’re working at McDonald’s; you’ll never get anywhere if you become lazy or complacent.