09 February, 2022 Academic - Old Michaelians

From VCE determination to Scholarship success – Mila Rennie Galvin

St Michael’s students have a long history of continuing to tertiary study and into various post-school pathways. Following the release of VCE results in December, many of our Class of 2021 have received tertiary offers and are now taking the next step on their education journey.

To give us an insight into what it’s like to prepare for the VCE, we asked some of our graduates to share their stories and tips for future VCE students.


For graduate Mila Rennie Galvin (OM 2021), it was important to remain focused, motivated, and organised. For her VCE studies, Mila took on the challenging subject mix of Biology, English, Further Mathematics, Global Politics, Legal Studies and Psychology.

Mila’s mindset and determination was rewarded, when she was offered the Melbourne Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Melbourne, where she will commence a Bachelor of Arts.

“I’m very excited to delve deeper into subjects like Politics and Global Intersections which I am extremely passionate about. I didn’t undertake Units 1 and 2 of Global Politics initially, but picking it up for the VCE, it quickly became my favourite subject. It was really helpful in understanding the motives and perspectives for some political action I have observed recently, and I’m looking forward to exploring that further throughout my university degree.”


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    Mila and her peers prepare for their final Hughes House Assembly
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    Mila celebrates with her friends out the front of St George's Church on Valedictory Day

Mila credits her experience with the wide range of subjects, Co-curricular activities and support available at St Michael’s with expanding her curiosity and willingness to think about different approaches to her future.

It really opens students up to all sorts of potential interests and career ideas. The support that we received, especially from our Heads of House, was extremely beneficial. They ensured that everyone made good use of the opportunities available – whether that was House Athletics or House Singing or any of the other options.Mila Rennie Galvin (OM 2021)

As with the graduates from the year prior, the Class of 2021 also faced the challenges presented by the pandemic. Fortunately, Mila was able to navigate the demands of online learning and remained focused on her goal of future study.

“The moment of finally finishing exams was the most satisfying part of the year for me—it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Being able to celebrate with friends was so exciting, along with a sense of anticipation for what’s to come.  It was also really rewarding to find out that I was accepted into my course of choice, being one of eight Indigenous students in the state to achieve a 90+ ATAR.”

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    Dressing up for Valedictory Day celebrations
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    Mila watches on as speeches are read in her final House Meeting

Staying focused throughout the year was not always easy, but for Mila, organisation and tidiness in her home workspace was key to staying on track.

“I tried to make sure my desk space was clear and that my phone was in another room so as to ensure I remained focused on my studies—however, this didn’t always work out!”

Outside of School, Mila also managed to juggle a part-time job, allowing her to increase her savings and take steps towards becoming financially independent.

“I think having this outlet away from School was extremely helpful, as it allowed me to foster external connections and helped to alleviate some of the pressures of exams. To cope, I just made sure not to overwork myself and plan the week ahead, making sure I wouldn’t work the night before a SAC in order to have more energy to revise and rest.”

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    Mila at the Great Barrier Reef Immersion in 2019
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    Valedictory dinner with Sophie Leggatt and Holly Luth

Reflecting on her time at St Michael’s, Mila says that while she was able to engage in a raft of amazing experiences, the opportunity to study with the James Cook University on Orpheus Island through the Year 10 Enhanced Biology Immersion Program was something that she’ll treasure forever.

The Year 10 Immersion Program was definitely a highlight for me. Seeing the marine life in all its glory and learning about how we can play our part in protecting the Reef will be something that will stay with me for years to come. It also brought me together with some of my closest friends, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.Mila Rennie Galvin (OM 2021)

For future VCE students, Mila had some great words of wisdom and encouragement to offer.

“Things don’t always work out the way you planned, so don’t let this get to you too much. Instead, find ways of studying and staying focused that work for you. I found setting a timer for one to two hours then having a break really helped with staying on track and not getting too drained. Additionally, I would advise future students to make sure they continue social connections, sport or paid work, as it’s important for your wellbeing to have a break from school and not let your whole life revolve around VCE and study.”


We wish Mila all the best and look forward to following her journey beyond the School gates.