Two years ago Year 12 student, Bailey Matheson, attended a five-day Youth Leadership and Business Summit, run by the Magic Moments Foundation (MMF). It gave him experiences, insights and inspiration that have enriched his awareness, self-confidence and understanding of the world.
In July he’ll attend the 2020 Summit—his third—and says he knows it will inspire and motivate him to get the best out of himself in the lead-up to his Year 12 exams.
“The Summit covers everything from life-skills to leadership; goalsetting to managing your mental health; financial literacy to entrepreneurship,” he explains. “You have the opportunity to connect really intensely with students from all over the world.”
Participants also have to become volunteers and Bailey works a few hours regularly for Bendigo Foodshare.
Perhaps it’s the social conscience that MMF fosters that has led him to consider a Gap year in 2021 so he can volunteer on a youth exchange program instead of going straight to uni.
Reflecting back over his secondary years, Bailey reckons it would be great to go back and tell his 12-year-old self to “stop focusing on what you don’t have”.
“We don’t really know what’s going on in other people’s lives,” he says, “regardless of what’s on social media, what you see them doing or hear them saying.”
Bailey’s sense of appreciation and his desire to give back to his community were cemented by The Resilience Project—Hugh Van Cuylenburg’s book about finding happiness though gratitude, empathy and mindfulness. Bailey is also aware that these ‘three pillars’ have set him up to be a better student overall.
Arriving at BSSC from BSE last year, he was part of a large group of students already familiar to him. Unfazed by the size of the college, Bailey was pleased about the wide variety of subjects to choose from and looking forward to the greater independence BSSC would give him.
It wasn’t until halfway through term one that he also began to really appreciate the teacher support available to him.
“I realised I needed to know exactly what my priorities were so I could make the most of that support.”
Bailey also took the advice of friends who’d recently finished VCE to ‘keep up with the work and don’t fall behind.’ Such friends have been a motivation for him to do well this year.
“I don’t consider myself a high achiever,” Bailey says, “but I work really hard and over the last two years I’ve really knuckled down on improving academically.
“Socially, I have a few different groups of friends, depending on what subjects we’re in. But this year I also know that frees are definitely not for socialising and that the workload expected is higher—which is a bit hard to get used to when a couple of weeks ago there was only my part-time job to worry about.”
Asked about favourite teachers, Bailey asks how long the profile can be!
“I have had some really good teachers here,” he says. “Prue has been particularly important in getting me well-established into my Year 12 studies.”
“Another teacher said Economics would give me a real head start if I end up studying Business at uni, and encouraged me to pick it up, given that I’d done Business Management 3/4 last year. It was good advice.”
The jury is still out on the career path Bailey will pursue.
Since childhood he’s had a dream to be a police officer working with the dog squad, but he’s also considering a degree in Law and Criminology.
“Eventually I’d like to join the police force,” he says. “What attracts me is the variety of things you can do. But who knows?”
Right now his focus is on getting the best results he can. This has meant letting some things go—like his involvement with local theatre groups, and putting his hand up for extra shifts at his part-time job.
What stays is a commitment to FoodShare, a pared-down part-time job, and a serious focus on his studies.
“This year school comes first.”
So what are Bailey’s ‘hot study tips’?
“Try to get your assigned homework done that day,” he says. “And get organised.”
Bailey has set up a Google calendar that is connected to his other devices so he can readily see his classes and where and when homework and other study commitments are due—and, importantly, where his spare time lies.
But Bailey is not so focused on his own world that he’s lost sight of the bigger issues his generation is facing.
“Obviously things are not so great globally,” he says. “Climate Change is not being addressed properly.
“I watched Al Gore’s documentaries about Climate Change and they really impacted me. Full of solid facts.”
Asked if there are other people he has found inspiring, Bailey names Pink and Ellen DeGeneres.
Bailey has long been a fan of Pink but says he is increasingly appreciating the sentiment she expresses—such as ‘stuff this’ or ‘just keep going’.
“Ellen has done some amazing things for people which really impresses me,” he says. “Ellen, Pink and Al Gore are changing the world by helping others and speaking about big issues.”
If you want to know more about the summit Bailey attends visit