Year 11 student, Izzy White, always planned to cut off her (very long) hair after she graduated from Year 12 and donate it to a wig-maker.

But one day, a few months ago, the idea became utterly irresistible. She turned to one of her friends and said, “I think I want to cut my hair off today”.

Her Mum’s advice was she get it done professionally.

However, getting an appointment with a hairdresser with few hours’ notice can be tricky. Izzy went to a barber who’d never done a cut like this before, but was up for the challenge.

“Unfortunately, the wig-makers we called don’t take dyed hair, so it’s now with all those other baby and kid things parents often save,” Izzy laughs. “I’d still like to donate it.”

So, why choose a super short cut after years of growing hair long?

“Challenging stuff had been happening and I’d found things quite hard for a few years,” she says. “Changing my hair was part of changing an image I felt no longer reflected me.”

With a much-improved capacity to be comfortable in her own skin, Izzy emerged from these struggles less impacted by the opinions of others.

These days Izzy feels her look matches who she is—a young woman deeply proud of hard-won personal growth which has brought with it incredible insight.

“I’ve learnt you can convert a negative into a positive and use challenging situations to make yourself a better person,” Izzy explains. “Now I wonder who I’d be without those experiences.

“I didn’t do it alone and I’m grateful for the support of my parents, grandparents and my fantastic friends,” she says.

Izzy also believes she’s less ‘judgy’.

“I used to think I had people worked out after a five-minute conversation,” she says, “but people’s behaviour is not always who they actually are. Understanding why someone does or says something is so important.”

Izzy’s approach to schoolwork as also changed.

She’s always enjoyed learning. In fact, when she was younger she’d notoriously ask her teachers for a project to do over the holidays.

“I used to be obsessive about getting good grades,” she says. “I tied my whole sense of worth to my marks and I’d be devastated by a bad result.

“Now I see the more time you’re sad about a bad mark, the less time you spend trying to change the situation.

“Now, I just really enjoy the process of having a go. When I get a grade that disappoints me, I contact my teacher straight away and discuss where I went wrong and what I can to do fix it.”

Izzy has also discovered the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else, so she pulls out the whiteboard and ‘teaches’ her parents what she’s been learning.

“This, and practice exams, are just the best,” she says.

Izzy describes BSSC as ‘open’.

“So many schools, and so much of society, seem judgemental to me,” she says. “I love our non-judgy culture here!”

Izzy couldn’t be more grateful for the “incredible support” she gets from her teachers.

“No matter who you are or where you’re from, BSSC teachers are welcoming and seem to truly understand their students,” she says.

Izzy is revelling in the challenges of the Accelerated Maths Program, but is perplexed by the lack of young women in her class.

“Why are maths classes still full of boys?” she says. “It feels like society still mostly wants young women to sit down and be quiet.”

Izzy is a big reader and always up for a debate over a text—especially one that “everyone claims is fantastic”.

“I think disagreeing with someone is much more interesting than agreeing,” she says. “Sometimes agreeing feels like you are just a follower without your own opinion.”

Izzy’s broad sweep of interests is both exciting and stimulating, but it does make decisions about the future a bit more complicated.

Maths or Humanities? Law or Paramedics? Science or Journalism?

“I’m trying to construct a plan so I can do it all,” she says with a grin. “I’d like to start off in journalism—maybe radio—and then study Law and, maybe, later branch off and become a paramedic.”

Her fascination for journalism was born at local radio station 91.9 FM, where she had a work experience placement.

“I was on radio for three days and I got to interview two members of my favourite US boy band—Why Don’t We?”

If Izzy could chat with anyone on the planet it would be Emma Watson and Megan Markle.

“Emma because she’s such a voice for feminism and would be great to talk to, and Megan because she seems so interesting and we know so little about her.”

And what if she could go back and give her 12-year-old self some advice?

“It will all be okay!” Izzy says with a smile .

“There were times when I felt ‘this is never going to end’, but here I am.”