19 April, 2022 Academic - Old Michaelians

The key to prevent burn out – Ben James

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, 100% of the Class of 2021, who wished to progress to tertiary study 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.

Ben James (OM 2021) started at St Michael’s in 2006, spending just under 16 years at the School. He looks back fondly at some of the highlights from school, including the Great Barrier Reef Trip in year 10, playing in the 1st Football Team and his favourite class – physics.

Ben recounts the most difficult part of his final years ‘the switches from in person learning to online learning throughout the year was what I found most challenging’. He goes on to say that the most rewarding part for me was, getting my ATAR and knowing that the work I had put in over the years had paid off.’ He also remembers that balancing schoolwork with cocurricular activities was a key part of his success. ‘I found that getting involved in many activities such as the Football vs Netball match or going to watch or play chess on Tuesdays was also a very rewarding part of Year 12, and I encourage current students to go out and participate in activities like these.’ Ben also shared with us a useful tool in helping him stay on task. ‘I found that meditation was very useful in staying focused and preparing my mind for schoolwork.’

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Ben was heavily involved in cocurricular life at St Michael’s and remembers some of the best moments in year 12 included: teaching himself to play guitar, reading, socialising with friends, playing basketball and football and making meaningful, fulfilling connections with teachers and peers.

Ben has big dreams for the future, and we congratulate him on being accepted to a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University. His goal is to later complete a PhD in Physics once he has finished his undergraduate course.

Physics was Ben’s favourite class at school, and he loved learning about concepts, and being able to notice then and apply them in the world around him. It promoted his natural curiosity of how the world works and is therefore the direction he want to take his further studies.

The separation between studying and other activities is necessary to keep yourself on track to do your best.Ben James (OM 2021)

Reflecting on his time at St Michael’s, Ben says ‘I think that St Michael’s has prepared me very well to take my next step into university. With the help of various teachers and the career counsellor, I have been able to establish a clear path for myself into university. Teachers have helped me to prepare for the study differences between secondary school and university.’

Ben’s advice to our current year 12 cohort is ‘instead of dedicating 100% of your time to studying and schoolwork, try to find a balance between studying and other passions or activities. If you are studying most of the time, you may find you burn yourself out quite quickly. The separation between studying and other activities is necessary to keep yourself on track to do your best.’