If Year 12 student, Adam Wild, realises his dream job, he’ll one day be working as a nutritional advisor to an AFL Club.

As a younger man he aspired to be part of the on-ground action, and he still plays in the midfield for North Bendigo, however, a few concussions sustained around four years ago have not only taught him how to look after himself better in the thick of the game, but inspired him to reimagine his career pathway.

“The plan is to study a three-year Nutrition degree beginning online next year via Deakin University,” he says. “I expect I’ll need to do post-graduate studies as well.”

Adam has discovered nutrition qualifications offer a wide variety of options, from health promotion to research—just in case he has to take a detour on his way to the MCG.

Meanwhile, VCE Food Studies has provided the chance to get a head start on his plans.

“Food Studies has built my understanding of the way food affects body function,” Adam says. “I’m particularly interested in how certain nutrients help elite athletes perform at their peak.”

It may seem ironic for a future nutritionist to work at McDonalds, but Adam says his part-time job has taught him a great deal about being organised and maintaining a clean and food-safe environment.

So, what’s Adam like in the kitchen?

“Pretty handy,” Adam says with a smile. “I love a range of foods, but Indian cuisine is a favourite. I make heaps of different curries—and tacos with lots of fresh veggies.

“I also make a good cheesecake and fettuccini carbonara.”

Adam is aware there are many factors that impact whether young people eat well—or not. He believes many underestimate the benefits of a healthy diet on long-term health.

“Generally a lot of us could be eating better,” Adam says. “While we’re young it’s super important to consume a diet with a wide range of nutrients for optimum health and try to prevent chronic conditions later in life.

“When family and friends model good food choices I think it encourages healthy eating habits.”

While COVID hasn’t made his last two years of schooling what he expected, Adam says it hasn’t affected him been as seriously as it has others.

“It was more annoying than anything,” he says. “It didn’t stop me from living a good life or getting my schoolwork done. I dealt with it by putting my head down and getting on with it.”

Adam knows many of his peers really struggled during the lockdowns and is conscious he’s one of the lucky people it worked for reasonably well.

Once he realised this, he had the confidence to plan online university studies.

The financial benefits of this piece of luck are not lost on Adam. He will be able to live at home during his uni course and save money.

Adam describes BSSC as not only an environment of opportunity and inclusivity, but also a place with an interesting diversity of people. He believes the positive culture is well-embedded.

“If you’re a truly inclusive community, you don’t have to make statements about beating bullying or racism, or make declarations about inclusion,” he says. “It’s just there in the culture and frees people up to embrace every opportunity.”

Adam believes his experience at BSSC has also shaped him into a more mature person.

“I can see how I’ve stepped up to take responsibility for my learning,” he says. “It’s made me feel more capable.”

He recalls a significant realisation during an English class, which he admits is not his favourite subject.

“It occurred to me that if I just got on with it I would have more time for the things I really enjoy,” Adam says. “I’ve continued to work more effectively in that subject ever since.”

So does Adam have any hot study tips?

“Don’t have your phone anywhere near you when you’re studying,” he says. “Make the most of study periods and put what you have to learn in plastic pockets on the back of the bathroom door!”

Family is very important to Adam. He’s grateful for all his mum has done for him and for the mentoring and friendship of a cousin.

If it was possible for him to have a conversation with anyone from across time, Adam would choose his late grandfather.

“My grandfather died when I was about two,” he says. “He got to meet me, but I can’t remember him.

“It would be great to talk to him and hear about his role at the GM motor company where he worked for many years.”

If Adam could go back in time, he’d make sure to tell his 12-year-old self that things will never be as hard as they seem.

“There’s no point stressing over stuff that, the next day, really won’t matter.”