Year 12 student, Caitlin Jackson has dived into student life at BSSC. This year she is Secretary of the BSSC Student Leadership Team (SLT) and part of the Wellbeing and Inclusion sub-committee.

Previously College Captain at Weeroona College, Caitlin has long valued representing her fellow-students and bringing their opinions to college leadership.

“That might seem a challenge in a college as big as BSSC,” she says, “but all of us on the SLT want to use our role to make it easier for student opinions to be heard and for students to connect more easily with each other. I’m really looking forward to our team making the student experience at BSSC an even more positive one.”

To achieve this, the team is conducting a student voice survey to identify what would make students keen to stay at school over the lunchtime break. Stay tuned for those results.

Meanwhile, as many of us languished on the beach or kicked back for the summer break, Cailtin spent part of her January at the 2019 National Youth Science Forum. She went along expecting to have twelve days focused on science.

“But it was so much more than that!” she says. “Of course I loved being in an environment with people who share my passion and commitment for learning and I’m excited about the possibilities science will open up in future—but I also made so many fantastic new friends.”

In what was a forum highlight, Caitlin’s group participated in a video-conference with a scientist in Geneva who works at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research which operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

Fascinated by anything to do with the universe, Caitlin was amazed to see science being applied in such an incredible way.

Unsurprisingly this experience is inspiring Caitlin’s VCE efforts and her long-term goal is to be an astrophysicist—probably via a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) at Monash and then into physics research. Naturally her favourite VCE subject is Physics, which she only picked up halfway through Year 11.

“Although I came in later, I just instantly loved physics and Roy is an awesome teacher,” she says. “But I enjoy my other subjects too—English Literature, Chemistry, Specialist Maths and Dance—and my teachers really go that extra mile—especially if you show you are committed.”

Caitlin is also discovering that there are benefits in having a diverse collection of subjects.

“Because I’ve always loved reading, studying English Literature, which is so different to my science and maths subjects, keeps me really engaged and developing other complimentary skills.”

Dance offers both exercise and artistic expression and also allows Caitlin to continue to develop a passion she has enjoyed since she was around three years old.

“I still dance two nights per week with another two hours at school,” she says. “I love Jazz and Tap but also do Ballet and Contemporary.

“People may not realise it, but dance as a subject is still around 60% theory,” she explains. “Whatever else I do in my life, I hope I will always dance.”

In stark contrast to her studies and dance, another of Caitlin’s involvements is her local CFA which she joined as a junior member, competing initially with their Running Team. She has recently progressed to being a senior member and is now equipped with all the skills for fire-fighting.

Despite her busy schedule, Caitlin still finds time to keep tabs on the wider world.

“Obviously climate change is the big issue,” she says, “and it seems kind of ironic to put attention on any other issue if we don’t have an earth in the first place.”

The argument that students use the climate change strike as a day off does not cut it with Caitlin.

“I think those students are very sincere. But I do think we all need to change the mindset that one person’s actions don’t matter and can’t change anything. They do and they can.”

Despite these concerns, Caitlin also sees the good things—like the increase in tolerance for diversity and the possibility that her career in science could even lead to working in remedying the impact of climate change.

Finally, and more personally, we asked Caitlin to reflect on her life over the last six years and tell us the advice she would love to go back and give her younger self.

Unlike some students who find their younger adolescent period an unsettling time, Caitlin has had a really enjoyable journey through her secondary schooling.

“I guess I could have put myself out there even more than I did. What I’ve discovered is that the more you do, the more opportunities come your way… and all the positive growth that comes with them.”