Take it from an expert – wearing a dress gets better every year!

We haven’t actually met Ted Pickering – not face-to-face anyway. But we’re pretty certain he’s one of those effortlessly awesome people. How do we know?

Well, first of all, he’s a Do It In A Dress veteran. Four years in a row! And that alone qualifies him for awesome status in our books. Ted is a member of the team called the QUT GEMS, which stands for Girls In Engineering Making Statements.

GEMS is a fabulous club at the Queensland University of Technology that provides support, networking, and mentorship to female engineering students.

Ted told us that “at some point, they convinced me to join in on the cause”. Now, clubs like that, that are out there helping female students and supporting girls’ education in Africa, don’t ask just any old tutor to join them. So that’s the second reason we suspect he might be a pretty good guy.

And the third reason? We’re going to leave that one up to you. Have a read of our interview with Ted and see what you think…

Five young adults, one in school dress standing together after a community run

Why are you passionate about raising money to support girls’ education?

Education is something I am extremely passionate about. No other single factor can shift the course of an individual, family, and community like an education. I’ve been a university tutor for over six years, and time and time again, I’ve witnessed the impact a little support can have in a student’s success.

I believe everyone should have the opportunity for a quality education like we have in Australia. I want to see those who are disadvantaged provided with the facilities and support to reach their potential.

What keeps you coming back year after year?

Every year I Do It In A Dress, I feel like I’ve had a real and genuine impact on someone’s life.

Education is for life and its impact passes through generations. I can’t change the world, but if every year I can have a small positive effect on someone’s life, I’ll keep coming back. The team at One Girl inspires me with their work, and I want to support them in the good they do in the world.

Dark haired young man wearing school dress while running on dodgeball court

Can you describe some of the challenges you’ve undertaken over the years?

This is my fourth year of Do It In A Dress. In my first year, I only wore my dress for a week. I played some sport (dodgeball), gave many tutorials, and delivered a lecture on fluid mechanics to 200+ engineering students. I was very self-conscious during this time, however the support I received from my friends and students was incredible.

Male tutor standing behind desk preparing for a class

In the following years, I decided to wear the dress for the full month, and each year have upped the ante. I’ve played lots of sport, climbed mountains, ran the Bridge to Brisbane, tutored engineers, spent many late nights in the lab, gone on dates and had people wax my legs at the bar – all while wearing my dress.

Four young adults laying on grass in school dresses outside university, smiling to camera

Being part of GEMS provides me with the support to put my dress on every day. There are so many amazing passionate people at GEMS. When there are 30+ people around campus, all wearing their dresses, it’s hard to not get involved.

What are you planning to do in your dress this year?

I have no idea what my challenges will be this year. I’ve already run the Bridge to Brisbane, and I will undoubtedly be taking classes in my dress, but I still need some new challenges. This year I would really like to do more group activities. Maybe spend a day at the beach and go surfing, maybe play some laser tag, who knows. I am hoping that my supporters from previous years will have some good ideas.

Dark haired male in his 30s wearing a lab coat over a school dressDo you have any tips for others who are planning their Do It In A Dress challenge?

Put your dress on and get involved. We live in a beautiful and caring country – friends, family, colleagues (and even strangers) will support you because they also believe in equality of opportunity. If you take the risk and wear your dress every day, you will find the support second-to-none.

So – what do you think? He’s a pretty good guy isn’t he?

And he’s right – there’s so much good will and support out there. We hear story after story from people who’ve reluctantly and self-consciously pushed themselves out the door in their school dress, only to discover a world of people who love what they’re doing and admire them for taking action.

But don’t just take our word for it. Or Ted’s. Stride out boldly and discover it for yourself!