08 May, 2018 Old Michaelians

Old Michaelians bring life learnings into the classroom


Last week, Year 11 students had the opportunity to meet with five Old Michaelians from the Class of 2016 to discuss subject selections, study skills and the breadth of possibilities that exist outside the Chapel Street gates.

Since 2012, the Old Michaelian Committee have worked alongside the School to ensure the continuity of a successful program that sees graduates return to St Michael’s, and share their VCE experiences and journey beyond school. It has proved to be a valuable insight for students and an opportunity for our Old Michaelians to experience a form of mentorship over the years.

Old Michaelians bring life learnings into the classroom

The morning served as an occasion for students to speak with older peers who have first-hand experience with the challenges of selecting subjects that best suited their interests and prospective career paths while balancing demanding deadlines with extracurricular activities.

With a handful of Year 11 students studying Units 3&4 subjects this year, they were diligent with their questions, beginning with ‘how did you feel about heading into Year 12?’ and tips to ease anticipation.

Shandor Biczok, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Science at Deakin University, emphasised the importance of valuing the current offerings at St Michael’s such as calm space and support from staff or fellow classmates, which helped curb some of his nerves.

‘Year 11 sets you up for Year 12, and the year comes down to how you manage your stress,’ he said. ‘St Michael’s is overtly helpful in terms of what’s on offer – teachers will sit with you and take you through things if that’s what you need.

Immerse yourself in the community and culture; there are so many opportunities out there and if you just grab them you’ll have a brilliant time and get through the year’, Shandor added.

Old Michaelians bring life learnings into the classroom

When asked about having a job or engaging in extracurricular activities during these crucial years of school, our Old Michaelians provided a mixture of responses.

Jamie Taylor recommended extracurricular activities as a ‘break’ from study. ‘Activities such as sport and social events can give you a more balanced lifestyle – I personally didn’t work in Year 12 to avoid burning out,’ he noted. In contrast, Caitlin Sampson worked one day a week during VCE, as it ‘helped to set a routine and was a chance to take the mind off VCE.’

Our past students also shared knowledge on subject selection and how scaling can adjust final study scores. They collectively agreed that it’s important to choose subjects that interest you rather than focusing on scores.

In her final years at St Michael’s, Bella Walker decided not to study Mathematics as it was an area she struggled with. Despite receiving some ‘grief’ for this decision, she chose subjects she was passionate about and has no regrets. ‘Even though I was doing some subjects that typically get scaled down, I still did well’ said Bella. ‘It’s best to select classes you enjoy as you will be willing to invest your time and energy in achieving great results.’

When she decided on teaching as a possible career path, Bella spoke with Careers Counsellor, Mrs Robyn McKenzie who highlighted the possibilities that would allow Bella to complete numerous education courses, even without studying Mathematics. ‘I highly recommend talking to the Careers Counsellor to get a better understanding of courses and the pathways you can take to get into them,’ she added.

Tamara Cole explained that she wasn’t certain of her path after graduating from St Michael’s and decided to take a year off to travel the world. ‘It was an experience that opened up many doors and I was able to meet new people and learn new things from them,’ she said.

Now completing a Bachelor of Arts, she is still unsure what to do later in life but feels this is the ideal time to experiment. ‘There are so many options to explore after school – don’t be afraid to try new things that push you out of your comfort zone,’ Tamara concluded.

On Thursday 11 May, Year 10 students will have the chance to speak with representatives from the Old Michaelian 2014 Cohort.