“If I could sit down with my twelve-year-old self,” says BSSC student Molly Heard-Van Emmerick, “I’d tell her not to be influenced by people who are not her people.

“I’d say: ‘look for genuine friends—the kind who have your back’.”

Molly recalls she used to be so shy she was reluctant to have a go at lots of things—and the reason?

“Mostly because I was worried about what someone else might think.”

These days, Molly has found her people. She’s also proud to be her “own person” and is far less concerned about others’ opinions.

Being comfortable in her own skin has significantly increased Molly’s sense of confidence in the future, her willingness to grab opportunities that arise in the present, and made her more able to bounce back from the inevitable mistakes we all make.

BSSC has been part of this change.

“I was quite nervous about the size of the college before I started,” she says, “but I found my feet quickly.

“BSSC encourages people to be true to themselves. The range of subjects is just so broad and the teachers are amazing.”

Molly’s is studying English Language, German, Further Maths and Psychology and has found she learns best by taking hand-written notes in class, then revising and summarising those notes by hand too.

“Because our exams are all hand-written, I feel like it’s a really good way to prepare.”

While she is yet to settle on a definite future course, Molly knows she want to pursue tertiary studies.

Her interests stretch from health sciences to humanities, so she was rather surprised and pleased to discover at last month’s Tertiary Information Service that one uni offers a double degree in Arts and Health Sciences.

Molly has also been studying German since Year 7.

“I wouldn’t say I’m fluent in German, but I really enjoy it and would love to visit Germany one day,” she says. “I’ve considered becoming a language teacher.”

Looking back over the last couple of years, Molly had a varied experience of the pandemic—initially grabbing the opportunity to throw herself into her studies, she eventually found the social disconnect very hard to bear.

“Even though I learnt to be really organised, I realised how important it is to have face-to-face conversations with my teachers,” she says.

“There’s only so much that can be successfully done online.”

She’s pleased to be back on campus, but has been surprised to find it’s not as simple as picking up where she left off.

“I’d become completely used to doing everything alone at home,” she explains. “I had set up my own systems and habits and suddenly I was on a timetable again, surrounded by people, and I really could just put my hand up and ask a question.

“It was wonderful, of course, but still a massive adjustment.”

As well as BSSC’s beautiful location next to Rosalind Park, Molly enjoys the convenience of being right in town.

When she’s not immersed in schoolwork, she has a part-time job at Bunnings. Her family farm beef cattle—which means she’s often out in wide open spaces surrounded by the natural environment.

“I’ve discovered how much being outdoors, especially in the country or bush, can clear my head. It really works.”

Molly’s glad to have grown up in a small country town.

“I love walking into a shop where everyone knows you and you all know each other’s news,” she says. “There’s a real sense of belonging. I think that’s genuine mateship.”

She also appreciates how fortunate she is to have a great relationship with both her parents as well as her amazing friends.

Molly’s also a fan of tennis superstar Rafael Nadal and would love to ask him how he stays so humble, keeps his mental strength and seems unfazed when a game is going badly.

Like Nadal, Molly’s capacity to both manage her challenges and make the most of what life throws at her is grounded in a belief that there’s no point worrying about things you can’t control.

“I’ve learnt that when things don’t work out in the beginning they’ll often work out for you in the end,” she says. “The very fact things don’t go right at first can be the seed of something much better, or more important, to come.”