BSSC Year 12 student, Laura Bawden is a fan of Ferris Bueller’s famous quote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

“In some ways I’d love to have known this—and really ‘got it’—when I was younger,” Laura says. “I’m one of those people who tend to be always wondering about the future.”

Laura is now clear about the difference between having goals and missing the present because your head is somewhere else.

“I’d love to tell my younger self to live in the now and avoid wasting all that time anticipating a future that cannot possibly be known,” she says. “But I also know everything that’s happened has made me who I am.”

During her 7-10 college years Laura endured a hard time dealing with bullies and took a while to find ‘her people’.

“I eventually found them,” she says, “and I’ve continued to connect with fantastic people at BSSC.”

Laura acknowledges having a family who are very supportive—including one very loved dog—is the kind of good fortune you can’t buy.

She has also discovered that her parents’ advice usually proves to be spot-on.

“Mum has always insisted everything is worse when you’re tired and has two standard remedies,” she reflects. “Have some ‘you time’ or get some sleep.”

Over the last six years Laura has developed other life skills she’s finding truly useful and, looking back, says she’s proudest of not losing the core of who she is during times when life has been stressful.

Sport is one of those releases. She enjoys playing netball over the winter and tennis in the summer.

“It’s not only good fun,” she says, “but an incredibly important outlet for de-stressing and reinvigorating myself.

A member of Huntly Football Netball Club, Laura has also found this club a supportive connection expanding the group of people she knows “have her back”.

As well as being pretty deadly in the mid-court during a netball game, Laura is also coaching the next generation of netballers.

On the tennis court, it’s Ash Barty who has inspired Laura. She saw Ash compete at the Australian Open a couple of years ago and it made an impact.

“I’d love to have a conversation with her,” Laura says. “While I was sorry to see Ash retire, I’d say, ‘good on you’, because she’s doing what’s right for her.”

Music has been part of Laura’s life since receiving her first guitar in Grade 6 and enrolling in the music program during her time at Weeroona College.

There’s been little time to play this year, but she knows music will be there waiting once she finishes her VCE studies.

Other than impacting her music, BSSC has worked really well for Laura.

She has a solid group of “truly fantastic friends” who support each other with both the pressures of school and life in general. There is already excitement building about a beach house booked for schoolies.

“I remember sitting in the Language Centre one day, surrounded by my friends and thinking, ‘this is what I’d always imagined a college should be like’.”

Laura applies the same level of commitment to her studies.

“I’m pretty self-motivated which has made it easier to adapt to the independent learning style at the college,” she says.

“My teachers feel more like friends. There’s a real sense of mutual respect and kindness.”

While her biggest challenge is the VCE workload, Laura is maintaining self-discipline, knowing she needs a high ATAR to pursue her dream of becoming a physiotherapist.

“I think keeping on track and being aware of what’s due, and when, is essential,” she says. “I have a good memory, but I also make lists, posters and flash cards, and I would recommend the revision tools. Do them early!”

Reinforcing her decision to pursue a pathway towards physio, Laura had a great experience at her work placement with Bendigo’s Healthy Mates Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy.

“I was able to get in hydro pool with clients and the physios explained the way they construct plans and programs,” Laura says.

“I really enjoyed talking with clients and most of them were happy for me to sit in on consultations.”

Laura knows much can change over the next few years, but at the moment her dream is to live and work on the coast somewhere and occasionally travel internationally.

Sound like a perfect plan for someone who wants to link a love of surf culture to a very portable career.