What started as a gap year has become an offer too good to refuse for Launceston girl Lance Corporal Emily Lahey.
After joining the Defence Gap Year program in 2010, Emily found extra motivation to push her through initial recruit training.
"Someone told me that I couldn’t get through basic training," she said.
"I don’t like being told I can't do things, so it was good motivation for me."
Emily's initial decision was to do her one-year commitment and then move on with her life.
"I was introduced to Defence by the recruiters that came to my school," she said.
"I liked the sound of it and joined the program.
"I really enjoyed that Gap Year; that sold it to me and I stayed on."
With a family background connected to the medical profession, Emily is planning ahead with study and a long-term career change in mind.
"When the Gap Year finished, I signed on to the Army as a clerk and have now started studying a Bachelor of Nursing part-time," she said.
"I'm aiming to become an Army Nursing Officer after my studies.
"My Dad is a paramedic and nursing is something I've always had in the back of my mind.
"It's also something I can do through various assisted study programs within the Army that lead to a job."
Emily is currently deployed in Afghanistan as the Headquarters Clerk at the main HQ in Kabul.
She is one of the Australian Defence Force personnel deployed across Afghanistan in a variety of roles on Operation Highroad, supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
Resolute Support focuses on training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and Afghan security institutions at the operational, institutional and ministerial levels.
Emily's parents Sharyn and Dean still live in Launceston and Emily says it didn’t dawn on them where she was until Anzac Day.
"My parents have told me that it didn't hit home for them that I was in Afghanistan until Anzac Day when they were at the footy in Melbourne," she said.
"They said the focus was on Afghanistan during the course of the day with speeches and ceremonies which was really well done."
This is Emily's first deployment and she had the privilege of being deployed on operations in Kabul for the Centenary of Anzac.
Being a part of the Kabul Dawn Service meant a lot to her.
"Normally on Anzac Day I'd spend the day with friends, but to be deployed here on operations on the Centenary of Anzac made it that much more special," she said.
"I had a role during the service and it’s something I’ll never forget."