Not that long ago I was sitting where you are.
I grew up in Bendigo, attended Weeroona College for high school, and later enrolled at Bendigo Senior Secondary College for VCE.
And while I didn't have a global pandemic to worry about, there were some challenges.
I was actually the first person in my immediate family to consider going to university, and it wasn't necessarily a common choice amongst my school peers at that time either.
But I had always wanted to be a doctor - that was my dream.
My dad was diagnosed with a severe lung condition when I was really young, and he travelled to Melbourne regularly for specialist appointments.
I remember always thinking about how unfair that was, and wanting to do something about it.
So when I was in high school, I jumped at the chance to do work experience in a hospital.
It was only for three days, and I still remember every moment.
Including comments made by a visiting doctor, who stated that he was surprised that my application had been competitive enough to get selected, given that I attended a public school.
And that was the first time that I realised that the world had already made expectations about me.
About what I could and would and should achieve and the likelihood of me succeeding.
As fate would have it, I didn't get the ATAR I was hoping for and I didn't get accepted into medical school straight away.
However, with the assistance of a special-entry scheme I did get accepted into a different and competitive course at a university in Melbourne, and excitedly started my tertiary education journey all the same.
It wasn't easy - moving away from home, scraping together money for rent and food, learning to use public transport and drive in the city.
And again I was faced again with the expectations that the world had imposed upon me.
On my first day, one of my university peers told me that as a special-entry scheme student I didn't deserve to be there, and that I'd taken someone else's place.
But what I discovered during this time is that these expectations were actually my greatest asset.
I could fail, and no one would think any differently because it was exactly what they had always expected of me anyway.
And it was in that freedom, the freedom to fail, that I found my greatest opportunities.
I started applying for things that I had never imagined possible, because I had nothing to lose.
And I went on to complete a research internship with a professor from Harvard, and another with a professor who had worked as a Senior Advisor for the Obama Administration.
From there I was accepted into medical school, and went on to represent Australia internationally on two occasions.
I held high-level positions with the Australian Medical Students Association, representing Australia's 17,000 medical students everywhere from Parliament House to the World Rural Health Conference.
A year after my graduation from medical school, I was named Junior Doctor of the Year for the state of Victoria.
The reality is that we all have set backs or failures, and some of the most interesting people I know overcame a number of challenges before they finally succeeded.
I like to think I might be somewhere in that camp too.
And while I'm still growing and learning every day, there are three things that this journey has taught me that I want you to know as well:
1) You can't stop the world from making expectations about you; there are always going to be people who tell you that you can't achieve your dreams. But please believe me when I say that those people are wrong;
2) You can make your own opportunities. If you can't get your foot in the front door, then climb through the window. They'll be too busy underestimating you to ever see you coming;
3) Please don't ever feel ashamed of where you come from, because where you come from has made you who you are today. And who you are is someone special.
So as you approach the end of a very difficult year, be kind to yourself and know that this is only the start of your journey and not the end.
And when it is all said and done I want you to go out there and take everything that you deserve, and give this world everything that you have to offer.
Dr Skye Kinder is the 2019 Young Australian of the Year for Victoria.