BSSC Year 12 student, Behnoush Seyedi, is candid about how balancing her time can be something of a challenge.

As well as working hard towards a great result in VCE, she plays and coaches volleyball and has a part-time job at Noodle Box.

Volleyball has been—and continues to be—a really important part of her life for a number of reasons.

“I love the sense of spirit that builds as a team works to win a match and the satisfaction that comes from honing skills that allow us to excel.

“There’s lots of yelling and encouraging each other in volleyball—especially when you’re diving for a difficult shot.”

But volleyball brings other important things.

“When I play volleyball, I forget everything else that’s going on. It completely de-stresses me, and of course, my brain gets a fantastic boost from all those feel-good hormones such as dopamine.”

She recalls both the disappointment of its absence in her life once Covid arrived—and how excited she was to be back on the court as the pandemic faded.

To Behnoush’s delight, her love of volleyball was very welcome at BSSC and she’s proved herself a valuable member of BSSC’s highly competitive women’s volleyball team.

In fact, at the end of Year 11, she won the team’s ‘Best and Fairest’ award.

Behnoush discovered volleyball in Year 7 at Crusoe College—around five years after her family emigrated from Iran to Australia.

Behnoush’s family, of Tarjik heritage, came to Australia when she was seven.

“I had basically no English when we arrived and in Year 2 all I could manage was to count to ten and write my name.

“So it was a big deal—just four years later—to be named one of the School Leaders in Year 6 at Kangaroo Flat Primary School.”

Behnoush holds vivid memories of how surprising she found the variety in Australian shops and how big and spacious everything seemed. The family had a home to themselves in contrast to sharing with three or four other families when she lived in Iran.

“Growing up in Iran also meant I was required to be covered whenever I left home. When we came to Australia, I continued to wear the hijab,” she says.

“But my father wanted us to embrace our new country by wearing clothes that allowed us to more easily blend in.

“I still like wearing the hijab when I go to the mosque, when I pray, and to important events such as a funeral. Praying is very important to me and my prayer life is the conversation I have every day that is the most important conversation to me.”

Behnoush’s grandparents and other family members remain in Iran—and sometimes struggle to access basic needs.

“It can be hard for them to find food, either due to its cost or its availability. We continue to support them as best we can.”

Meanwhile, Behnoush is very grateful her parents support her to pursue the things she loves.

“I also have such supportive friends and I’m so glad my family are here with me in Australia.”

When asked about BSSC, Behnoush uses the words, ‘diverse’, ‘very big’ and ‘positive’.

During Step Up, like hundreds of other students attending orientation, she joined the ‘Race around the School’ challenge—aimed at ensuring students knew how to find all the important landmarks.

“I remember being overwhelmed and thinking: ‘what is this’?”

She also recalls the mixture of nerves and excitement the day before starting Year 11. Now, after being at the college for almost 18 months, Behnoush says she would definitely recommend BSSC.

“One of the best things about BSSC is the number of friends I’ve made,” she says.

“I love my teachers too—especially my Biology teacher, Megan, who is just full of life, so positive and encouraging.”

Behnoush has relished the choice of subjects BSSC offers and finds the extra study sessions offered in individual subject areas very helpful.

She started with English study sessions and is planning to join the ‘Biology Booster’ study group—as well as continuing to access revision lectures.

Behnoush makes the most of study periods at school and prioritises a good homework routine.

“First off, I do schoolwork that’s due. Then I work in cycles of 25 minutes with 5 minutes off. I use cue cards and practice doing SACs.

“I first learnt these skills at Crusoe College when I was studying VCE 1/2 Health and Human Development in Year 10 and our teacher gave us research showing what great study techniques look like.”

Behnoush is planning to study Nursing, or perhaps Early Childhood Development, at La Trobe University, Bendigo.

She is also holding to aspirations around playing volleyball professionally.

“It’s really important to be able to keep playing volleyball at some level.”