BSSC Year 12 student, Ollie Turnbull, had his first taste of how nerve-wracking Year 12 exams can be as he prepared for his 3/4 Biology exam at the end of Year 11.

“I’m not someone who stresses about stuff, and it felt almost scary to be hit so hard by exam nerves. The day before I was properly stressed and didn’t know what to do about it.

“At about 9.30 that evening I headed out and ran for about 40 mins. It helped, but I still woke up the day of the exam super nervous. So I hit the gym and it worked. I arrived at school much calmer.”

Ollie’s experience was an insight into how exercise can be a game-changer when life is pressuring—so this year he’s continuing to incorporate plenty of physical activity into his routine.

He heads to the gym at least three times each week—usually with his two best mates—and can be found out on the golf course at some point too. He also plays footy for South Bendigo.

“Even with sport, I perform better when I’m relaxed.”

He chooses the word ‘different’ when asked to describe the college, and believes the best aspect is the people.

“BSSC makes it easy to connect with other students and your teachers. The open vibe and free periods with no uniform let you be creative with your time and clothes.”

Being able to see his two best mates every day—as well as heaps of others who make coming to BSSC so enjoyable—is hugely important to him.

“I’m really proud of finding such quality friends and holding on to them.

“I think I’m more accepting of other people now, more willing to help someone else, more willing to work on myself and I’ve become more able to be true to myself over this last year.”

Ollie’s self-confidence is growing and he’s learnt who he wants to be.

While he’s not certain about his career pathway, he wants to make the most of the opportunities on offer during Year 12 and says after coasting a bit in Year 11, he went into Step-Up with a fresh mindset.

“My challenge this year is to apply myself and keep motivated,” he says. “I want to finish school content with my achievements.”

VCE is not only about that final number for Ollie.

He’s interested in his whole development as a person; in building himself into a better human through every experience he has—including being strengthened by the challenges of VCE.

His approach to study is to make the most of all the resources he can access. He also sets goals and gives himself rewards—which might be as simple as something he enjoys eating or a sleep.

Working through old practice exams and SACs are favourite methods in preparing for those tests.

“Making posters was great in Biology last year. I’d roll my desk chair between a SAC and posters I’d made to check errors or confirm my answers.”

Doing a 3/4 subject last year was also a maturing experience as he worked alongside Year 12 students and was inspired his Biology teacher.

Meanwhile, although he’s particularly loving English and Psychology this year, Ollie’s not planning to head straight to uni.

“I will probably go to uni after a couple of years working—maybe in a mine to give myself a good financial base. I can imagine myself studying Psychology, but I’ve also thought about going into the police force.”

A quotable quote from Ollie is this: “Being an idiot is a disservice to yourself.”

Ollie discovered the power of this in a humbling way that makes him wish—if it were possible—he could go back and warn his younger self about it.

“I used to have really long hair and I cut it into this awful mullet in Year 9—it looked so terrible and worst of all, it was around the time of my (wonderful) grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. You should see the photos—they’re the worst I’ve ever seen of me.

“So, I’d love to go back and tell myself, ‘don’t cut the mullet—or at least cut it shorter’.”

Ollie enjoys listening to music—pretty much everything that lies between classical music and heavy rock/techno—especially Indi and Surf rock and he relishes going to music festivals.

“Laneway was so good this year because my favourite artist, Dominic Fike, was playing. I didn’t miss a single lyric.”

He’s also a keen photographer and was recently gifted a quality camera. This has led him to commit to taking at least one pic every day. Favourite subjects are nature, people, architecture, and his dog.

Asked who impresses him, Ollie say it’s his youngest brother who has had some big challenges over the years but has persisted through them in a remarkable way.

Ollie is very grateful to his parents and extended family. He says they have shaped him and have always been there for him.

“I try to be there for them too.”