‘What do you want to do after you graduate?’
It’s probably the most common question asked of students finishing up at school or uni. But not everyone has a definitive answer.
While we’d all like to think we know where we’re heading, sometimes the path to your future can hold some unexpected twists and turns.
And MST student, Dietrich Cheung, likens his approach to finding the right path for his future as “an evolving plan.”
Following school, he took a number of sales and marketing jobs and achieved some success in the corporate world.
“I realised that I liked people and that I had an interest in learning more about psychology,” he says.
However, when he realised that the passion for what he was doing just wasn’t there, he decided to return to study.
As part of a Christian family who emigrated from Hong Kong 30 years ago, Dietrich grew up going to church and knowing God.
“I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home,” he says. “Both my parents are in ministry.”
In fact, Dietrich’s father, Rick Cheung, is on both Boards of Directors at MST and Eastern. With an existing MST connection, Dietrich sought the counsel of MST people, as well as that of his parents.
In 2017, he began a one-year Graduate Diploma in Divinity at MST. During that time, he went on two short-term mission trips to Cambodia, which allowed him to have fellowship with students who had either been on mission trips, or were already missionaries.
He was also able to hear a multitude of different faith stories.
“I still had questions about who God is. MST was okay about my questions. They are very open about that.”
Yet Dietrich is quick to admit that he is quite introspective. Even after this enlightening year at MST he says he was still figuring things out and unclear about the direction his life would take.
After an undergraduate degree at RMIT in business management, today, Dietrich is in his second year of a Masters of Teaching degree at Eastern and thinks this will be the career on which he will hang his hat.
He describes the course simply as ‘wonderfully practical’ and says that Eastern helps him understand how to impart a Christian worldview when preparing classes.
“It has taught me that faith can be integrated throughout the entire fabric of teaching,” he says. “This includes ‘threads’ and ‘themes’ of how God continues to redeem His creation—it is present in all subjects that students encounter.”
Dietrich has already started work as an intern chaplain at Yarra Valley Grammar. While Dietrich hasn’t technically followed his father into full-time ministry, he says that Rick did say that doing teaching would be helpful for any potential future roles in chaplaincy.
However, the experience of being amongst students in a school, while studying education at the same time, is a useful way to deepen his training.
“I can see how the course is practical to the demands of what it means to be a teacher,” he explains.
He is convicted in his role at school to being an influencer for God’s Kingdom, particularly in the small things, like day-to-day conversations about how students are going.
“As well as living out my faith directly, like speaking at chapel and assemblies, I want to live it indirectly through building relationships with students,” he says.
Dietrich feels blessed to have been part of both the MST and Eastern experiences, through studying theology at MST, and now education at Eastern.
Will there be further study? For now, no. Dietrich tells us that as much as he enjoys hitting the books, he is now happy to concentrate on the work side of things in his “evolving plan”.