For BSSC Year 12 student, Brodie James, blending his natural sporting aptitude with a capacity to be organised and work hard is helping him create a pathway towards a promising future.

While Brodie is enjoying BSSC, and continues to be committed to his studies in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, he also loves sport—particularly football.

Brodie began playing footy for Marong when he was just ten. He’s also been into motocross and remains a keen water-skier and wake-boarder. While riding his motorbike is now a great way for him to take a break, like footballers across the country, he’s aching to pull the boots on again.

This love of sport motivated Brodie to move from Eaglehawk Secondary College to Bendigo South East in Year 8, specifically to be involved in the school’s Athlete Development Program.

BSSC’s Specialty Sport program was a natural progression for the young footballer who is now listed with the Bendigo Pioneers.

Brodie remembers one of the highlights of his time at BSE was the college’s whole-school sports days. This is something that doesn’t happen at BSSC, but Brodie wishes it did.

“I think sports days are great,” he says. “They bring everyone together.”

During the same period, when Brodie was making big decisions about balancing his sport with his studies, he also made some very significant academic decisions.

In Year 10, despite advice to the contrary, he decided to take on two Year 11 subjects—Biology and Physical Education. The kick-on effect was to make Year 11 more intense with units 3/4 of those subjects in his study load.

Arriving at BSSC for the start Year 11, Brodie already had a big group of friends. He didn’t feel too nervous; his only concern being how he would cope with his Year 12 subjects.

“I do remember feeling like it was such a big step-up to be taking unit 3/4 subjects in Year 11,” he recalls.

But he has rarely regretted these choices and right now he is actually very pleased he took this path.

With less subjects to tackle, he’s found the adjustment to remote learning quite manageable.

“If you can do that extra subject in Year 10 I would really recommend it,” he says when asked for a ‘hot study tip’.

“But overall, how well you do also comes down to organisation. Having the extra load in Year 10 and Year 11 actually helped me learn how to be more organised,” he points out.

“In VCE you need to keep up to date and stick to the timelines you’re given. It just makes it so much easier when things are due… and it’s really important to listen to your teachers.”

Last year, Brodie’s favourite subject was PE with Mark Fox. This year it’s Psychology with Cassy White that he’s finding absolutely fascinating, and despite not studying units 1 or 2, is coping well with the content.

Along with Psychology, this year Brodie is also studying Health and Human Development, English, and Business Management.

Brodie hopes to get into Exercise Science at La Trobe University Bendigo next year and is considering a career as an Exercise Physiologist—hopefully working primarily with elite athletes.

But for now, life is dominated by adjusting to online remote learning.

Brodie is mostly sticking to his usual timetable and considers he’s benefitting from BSSC’s style of online delivery, which has fostered his already impressive skills in taking responsibility for his own development.

“The freedom that BSSC offers, pushes you to take on more responsibility for your own learning,” he says. “It’s such a valuable skill.”

Although he’d rather be attending classes and studying at the college, Brodie admits to enjoying the challenge of organising his study and taking breaks exactly when he wants to.

“So far the hardest thing has been the technological adjustments we’ve all had to make,” he says. “I really miss those quick answers, or clarifications from teachers.”

Despite all the challenges, Brodie has a pretty fantastic set up at home. His family runs the Boort Lakes Holiday Park, so he’s locked down in a truly beautiful part of the world.

He’s not insensitive to the fact many students across Bendigo and the world are in cramped rooms, shared spaces or multi-storey apartments and unable to live a life that remotely resembles what they normally do. In contrast he’s been able to continue most of his interests despite the restrictions.

“We have a big yard and a little country town like Boort gives everyone so much freedom to safely do what we want or need to do,” he says. “I’m also enjoying spending more time with my family.”

Despite his apparent ‘easier load’ with only four VCE subjects, in truth Brodie does have a full study load.

On top of his VCE program, he is preparing to become a Personal Trainer through the Australian Institute of Fitness and Bendigo’s D-Club 247 gym. He hopes the course will set him up with both an income stream while he’s at uni and also give him a head start in understanding more about how the human body operates.

Given his love of sport, and especially his involvement in football, it’s not surprising that one of Brodie’s heroes is a footy player.

Western Bulldogs Captain, Marcus Bontempelli, impresses Brodie with his willingness to speak out openly and honestly about difficult issues—including the recent behaviour of his vice-captain.

Thinking about global issues, Brodie shares the widespread concern of people around the world about the impact of coronavirus. He has been bemused and unimpressed by those who are protesting against the lockdown in the USA.

“I think most world leaders have done a really good job, and I don’t understand why you would protest,” he says. “I feel like I can fully trust our leaders in this crisis and I’m really glad to be in Australia.”

As Brodie continues to prepare for his future we also asked him to think back to his past.

If he had the chance to go back and give his twelve year-old self some advice what would he tell himself?

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” he says. “Everything that’s happened over the last six or so years has contributed to who I am now. I’ve learnt from all those mistakes and successes.”