After her first week at the college as a Year 11 student, Audrey Andrews’ thought, “Finally, I’m being treated like a grown-up.”

Now, about to sit her final exams, she reflects on those initial feelings of trepidation—not knowing what to expect when she made the transition from BSE.

“Everyone is so open-minded here—so non-judgemental,” she says. “When I talk to students from other colleges I realise it’s not just the age we are—the culture here often brings out a maturity in students I think is really fantastic.”

Audrey also found herself connecting with students she’d not made much effort to get to know when they all attended their previous college.

“I wonder why those connections didn’t happen back then?” she reflects. “I’ve met people from so many different backgrounds that I have heaps in common with. I’ve kept my old friends too, of course, but I’ve been more open to new people in my life.”

One of the significant changes Audrey has observed in herself over the past two years is learning to stress less. This, alongside academic and creative achievements, ranks among the things she feels most proud about.

If she could go back and offer 12-year-old Audrey some advice it would simply be “Don’t stress so much! Have a go at everything you’re interested in… you’ll be happy you did!”

Last year one of the ways she ‘had a go’ was to study a 3/4 subject. For Audrey, this experience proved to her she was capable of studying at Year 12 standard.

“It was so great to learn that in Year 11,” she says. “I’ve also worked out that practice exams are the best method of study for me.”

Now the future looming large, Audrey hopes to study a double degree in Engineering and Business with a view to living and working—and travelling—in Taiwan, Japan or Korea.

Longer term she imagines herself running an engineering business, providing that connection to her interest in business. But she’s also aware that her interests and motivations might change.

Audrey played netball for Golden Square from Grade 3, but her real love has been dance for as long as she can remember.

“I have mostly focused on theatrical/jazz/tap and performed in a number of competitions,” she says. “I don’t do lessons anymore, but I have studied Dance as a Year 12 subject.

With all the lockdowns, Audrey’s home became a stage for dance practice and spontaneous choreography.

“I think I’ll always dance,” she says.

While Covid had little impact on Audrey’s love of dance and capacity to practice her steps (other than fierce negotiating with the family for space and time in the lounge room) it did leave her feeling very cooped up.

“I kept up with my studies, but I love to get out and do stuff outdoors and that was limited,” she says. “I also noticed that my short-sightedness got a lot worse, probably due to the amount of time I spent staring at a screen.

Speaking of screens, if Audrey could have a conversation with anyone living or dead, it would be screen idol Audrey Hepburn—and not just because they share the same name.

“I admire her so much,” Audrey says. “Yes, she was very classy and beautiful and was such a successful movie star, but she was also very caring and was involved with UNICEF for much of her life.

“I’d ask her about the experiences she had in the Second World War and how they came to inspire her lifelong concern for children’s welfare.

“I think it’s her kindness I admire most, and I’d love to think I could make a contribution like hers.”