As a graduating student of St Michael’s Class of 2020, Alex Hose embraced the challenges of VCE and online learning in order to grow.
Alex took on the difficult subject mix of Chemistry, English Language, French, Mathematical Methods (Northern Hemisphere Timetable), and Specialist Mathematics, and she finished the year with an incredible ATAR of 99.6, placing her in the top 0.5% of the state.
Alex was surprised by the subject she enjoyed the most during VCE. “To my surprise, I found Chemistry to be really enjoyable. I found that I could begin to apply it more to things outside the classroom and I started to enjoy the challenge.”
“I also enjoyed having French as a subject which was a bit different to the rest. It was nice to have a break from all the Science and Maths and to have something that was a bit more creative and challenging in a different way.”
While Alex found the transition to online learning challenging, she also felt that some classes worked well, or perhaps better, in a virtual format.
“The pandemic was definitely an added obstacle on top of an already challenging year, but I found that it forced me to explore new ways of learning, coping and studying which were beneficial in the end.”
“I found that some subjects worked really well as virtual classes because I had more time to work individually without distractions, however I definitely missed a lot of the one-on-one interactions you get in a classroom. The virtual classes made me recognize how helpful the little conversations with friends and teachers are in terms of getting an explanation from a different point of view, or some extra clarification.”
Alex admits there were some moments of difficulty in merging the school and home environments but exercise and was one of the keys to maintaining the balance and staying positive.
“One thing I struggled with was creating the separation between school and home. Sometimes I felt like because I studied and relaxed in my bedroom, I found it harder to move away from a school or studying mindset.”
“To try and avoid this, I started making sure I got out of the house everyday – whether for a run, walking the dog or going to get coffee with a friend. Not only did this help me relax but it was also a good source of exercise and helped me keep in contact with friends.”
“For me, exercise was super important to help me stay motivated throughout the virtual classes and it really helped me maintain a positive mindset. I found it beneficial in terms of taking a break, letting off some steam and helping me refocus.”
Alex’s tip for incoming VCE students is to maintain a healthy balance between studying and other pursuits.
“Finding a balance is different for everyone, but I found that filling up my week with lots of sporting activities and other commitments forced me to study more efficiently in shorter segments, and that worked really well for me.”
The highlight for Alex during her time at St Michael’s was the Kosi to the Coast expedition in Year 11. ‘Kosi’ is a 20-day expedition which sees students travel from near Perisher Alpine Resort in New South Wales, to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, then descending to the Snowy River where they travel by raft and canoe to the coast at Marlo, Victoria.
“Kosi was without a doubt my favourite experience at St Michael’s. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I came away with so many incredible memories and new friendships. It also made me more excited to push my limits and continue stepping out of my comfort zone as well as improving my resilience and motivation.”
During her time at St Michael’s, Alex also enjoyed stepping out of her comfort zone by going on a language exchange to France.
“French exchange was another incredible experience. Although going to live on the other side of the world where they speak a completely different language with a family I hardly know was scary, it was so worth it.”
“The complete immersion in another culture is a completely different way of learning and I found it was not only super beneficial for my French but also made me more independent.”
In 2021, Alex is excited to continue learning by commencing a Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne.
“It’s super exciting. I’m not sure what I’ll major in yet or where I’ll end up, but Science is something I’m really interested in and the degree gives me lots of flexibility and opportunities to try out different areas until I find my passion.”
Alex is also looking forward to travelling within Australia with friends and family, as well as saving up so she can travel overseas when possible in the future.
“I’m excited to travel and explore the world. There’s so much to see and do and so many incredible places to go. I really want to meet new people and find opportunities outside Australia and see where they lead me. I want to continue pushing myself and trying new things.”