When BSSC Year 12 student, Audrey Vendy, thinks back to when she was 12 years old she laughs quietly.
“Although I can be quite shy, in some ways I think I was pretty crazy that year,” she says. “For example, a friend and I decided to try and only wear t-shirts and shorts all year! If I could go back, maybe I’d tell myself to ‘forget the shorts thing’.
“At the same time, I’d have some more serious things to say to myself. Like ‘try not to overthink everything’… and ‘don’t worry so much about the future’. And, because we so often just sat around at lunchtimes, I’d say ‘don’t stop your sport’.”
These days Audrey is running cross-country with the Bendigo Harriers, dressing very appropriately— and enjoying her time at BSSC.
“The classes here feel very open and supportive,” she says. “The teachers know where each of us is at and are sensitive to our need for help or extension tasks.
So what are Audrey’s hot tips for a successful VCE?
“Well, first, you need to really love your subjects. Another really important factor is how you study. I take short breaks every half hour or so—to unwind but also to consolidate what I’ve learned.”
Audrey believes it’s easy to forget how much teachers want their students to succeed.
“Obviously they know the topics really well, so why not ask more questions and reach out for help as soon you start to struggle?
One teacher who’s been a really important mentor to Audrey is Bronnie Bishop.
“I had Bronnie for Psychology 3/4 last year and learnt so much. There’s still so much I remember too!”
Making new friends has also been pivotal to Audrey’s positive BSSC experience.
“While we’re all in the same boat we’re also all unique,” she says. “I love that I’ve met people from so many different cultures, religions and walks of life. It’s so important not to judge others… and I think it would make such a difference in the world if we all practiced that.”
Audrey believes one of the ways BSSC could encourage greater contact among students would be to create more spaces with tables and chairs for students to get together at lunchtime.
“The C-Block kitchen area is an awesome idea and a great example of getting this right,” she says.
Meanwhile, back in the classroom, Audrey’s other subjects this year are: French, English Language, Maths Methods and Physics—all subjects she really enjoys.
Audrey has studied French since Year 7 and was fortunate to have a really passionate teacher through those early years.
“French is such a beautiful language,” she says. “I came to BSSC really keen to continue what I’d begun and I’ve benefitted from having a bigger class and more students to bounce my ideas off and practice with. My French teacher at BSSC, Marie, has been really great too.”
Looking beyond school, Audrey is finding her future pathway something of a mystery.
“I change my mind every couple of weeks,” she admits. “At the moment, because I enjoy physics, I’m thinking of either becoming an engineer or a radiographer.
“I also like the idea of a traineeship, because you get that hands-on experience and get to know what to expect in the day-to-day role of a particular job.”
Visiting France is also on Audrey’s radar—she has even considered living there.
But her main focus is about being a good global citizen and when it comes to global concerns, the needs of others are not far from Audrey’s thoughts.
“Whatever I settle on, I want to know that I have used my life to help other people,” she says.
“I’ve been on three trips overseas—to Thailand, Fiji and Indonesia—that have really made me think about our concept of humanitarian aid. Just throwing money at problems, rather than actually helping to rebuild positive communities, seems really short-sighted to me.
“I’ve also heard about a group in Uganda that offers very low-interest loans to women so they can start up a business. Programs like this really give people a future and these are the kinds of things I want to support or be involved with in the future.”