As Year 12 student, Zac Turley, has watched his own capacity for independent learning grow over the last eighteen months, he’s realised that BSSC really does have something for everyone.

Looking back over his education, Zac has no hesitation in naming BSSC as the school he’s enjoyed the most.

“It’s partly because I can actually see how the extra freedoms we have here really do prepare us for adulthood,” he says. “I get along really well with all my teachers and being talked to as a ‘real person’ is so great.”

Zac also has great support at home which adds to the positive environment he finds at the college.

“I know I’m very lucky my family values education so highly,” he says. “It really makes a difference, especially in these last two years of secondary school.”

Zac’s confidence to approach new people has also grown during his time at BSSC.

“I was a little nervous when I first started—even though I came here with a great group of friends and had familiar faces in every class,” he recalls.

“I’ll now go up and introduce myself to students I don’t know, or offer help to another classmate.”

Still, like many students beginning VCE, Zac found the jump in workload from Year 10 to Year 11 took some adjustment.

“Up to Year 9 I had always been able to get my work done in class and hardly ever did any homework,” he says. “Once you hit VCE though, it doesn’t matter how hard you work in class or how clever you might be, there’s always homework.”

Finding himself falling behind near the start of Year 11 brought a moment of reckoning.

Zac reduced his hours at The Zone, where he still works part-time, and began to pay much more attention to getting his homework organised.

Then, in the middle of Year 11, like all students, he found himself mostly confined to the house as the long Covid lockdown impacted schools.

“I think I came through it better than some, but when we had the snap lockdown a few weeks ago, I thought ‘here we go again, this will be all of third term’.

“I got really organised and then was surprised when we were allowed to come back to the college. I now know the most important thing is to get stuff done as soon as possible… and not just during Covid lockdowns.”

Zac took Psychology 1/2 while still in Year 10 at BSE. This made him eligible to do the GAT in Year 11. He laughs as he recalls ending up in the top 5% in the state in Media—even though he wasn’t studying Media.

This outcome is not as strange as it seems because Zac is a movie buff.

“I love watching movies,” he says with enthusiasm. “Especially Sci-Fi.”

He nominates the hugely-successful director, Edgar Wright (think Shaun of the Dead) as the person he would most love to have a conversation with.

“I think I’d ask him how he got his start in films,” Zac says.

Coming into Year 12, having already done 3/4 Psychology in Year 11, set Zac up to have only four final-year subjects.

Despite this, Maths Methods, Legal Studies, Chemistry and English are still managing to keep him very busy.

Chemistry is a particularly important focus for Zac who hopes to study Applied Chemistry at RMIT and sees his future in one of the many sectors that employ chemists.

“Chemists work across so many industries,” he says, “from field research on environmental impacts through to developing the ingredients for cosmetics.

“I also think the role of chemists in agriculture is going to grow over the next few years.”

Meanwhile, 2022 will be a Gap year for Zac and an opportunity to save for the move to uni if things go to plan.

With this future pathway well and truly in his sights, Zac would love to go back and give his 12-year-old self some sage advice.

“Get good at independent study early,” he’d tell him. “It will really help you step up to senior secondary education.”