If Year 12 student, Stella Harrop, could give her younger self some advice she would say, ‘Just keep going’.
“I would also say, ‘you are going to do some amazing things you never thought you would or could’.
“Back then I probably needed to hear that life isn’t linear—it’s up and down—and that’s completely normal.”
Stella now says the thing she is most proud of is her capacity for persistence—something she began to get a real-world handle on when she had her first serious netball knee injury.
“That injury taught me to do rehab in a disciplined way,” she says, “not because someone had told me to do it, but because I wanted to do it for myself.
“It taught me not to need acknowledgement from someone else that I was doing a good job.”
And, of course, then came Covid.
“In Year 10 the BSE German class would normally have gone on an exchange to Germany, but that was impossible because of the pandemic,” she explains.
“I decided to have a go at planning something a little closer to home.”
Stella mapped out all the details of a four-day trip where the class would visit and stay in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.
“The plan was to fly to Adelaide, travel by road to Hahndorf, and stay in cabins at the caravan park, exploring different aspects of the town and area each day,” she says.
A friend showed Stella’s plan to the German teacher who sent it to the BSE College Council—who unfortunately had to decline the idea because the Covid restrictions applied to this too.
However, the exercise demonstrated Stella’s natural flair for creative ideas to get around challenging problems and a capacity for attention to detail.
Such skills are also essential for someone considering a career as an Occupational Therapist.
“I’m part of the CHES program through La Trobe University and I’m studying Human Bioscience online,” she explains.
“I’ve always been interested in a career in health care and when I read about OT and the variety of settings where OT’s can contribute so much, it really appealed to me.”
Stella can imagine herself working in private practice in a regional or rural setting.
However, the focus for now is Year 12 and she is really enjoying her time at BSSC.
“If I think about the college, the word, ‘individualised’ comes to mind because this college opens so many opportunities for all its students,” Stella says.
Stella names opportunities such as the variety of revision programs, the chance to participate in the Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES) program, and the extent of the student support by the teachers and their passion that makes learning so interesting and engaging.
“Bronnie, my Psych teacher, has really encouraged me to have a go,” she says. “Dave, my English teacher, makes our classes so engaging and fun, and this makes us want to contribute to class discussions.”
Stella uses a wide range of study methods to make sure she understands concepts and can recall the topics clearly. These include being organised, taking lots of notes, highlighting, doing practice SACs and exam questions.
“My main method is to commit and power on,” she says. “This really helped me when I was struggling with Biology last Year.”
“I usually listen to music when I’m studying, and if there are lyrics, I’ll tend to listen to songs sung in German so they don’t distract me.”
To unwind, Stella has a favourite sitcom she guiltily binges on every now and then. She is also committed to the power of exercise to keep her mentally and physically healthy.
An intense cardio fitness class three times a week has proved to be gold.
“It gives me a proper brain break because I can’t think of anything but getting my next breath, the pain I’m in, and wondering if the class is nearly done,” she laughs.
“I’m sometimes tempted to skip a class, but I’ve found booking in helps me stay on track—and I feel so good afterwards.”
Other than the gym, Stella has had a long involvement with netball which came to an unfortunate end last year after a knee injury.
She works part-time at Nude Food breakfast bar and says it’s the best work environment she’s ever been in.
Stella also has a passion for up-cycling clothes and wearing her creations, which is partly an enjoyment of sewing and partly a desire to impact the terrible environmental impacts of ‘fast fashion’.
“I use some of my own clothes, op-shop finds, as well as unwanted fabric,” she says. “I prefer machine sewing rather than hand sewing.”
Her interest in sewing began in Grade 5 when she joined a sewing club—it has been nurtured by a group of textile-loving aunties who are a big encouragement.
“It was a huge compliment when a friend thought the skirt and top I was wearing were purchased at a shop,” Stella says.
Emma Watson is someone Stella would love to meet and have a conversation with. No doubt she would be impressed by Stella’s willingness to step up and make a stand against the fast fashion industry.
“Emma is so passionate about everyone being their own individual person,” Stella says. “She’s a wise woman and I’d ask her what it’s like being so recognised and how she overcame the challenges of being in Hollywood.”
Asked what she is most grateful for, Stella is quick to respond.
“It’s my fantastic support network of family and friends.”