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20 December, 2018 Community

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Bronte Smeaton

St Michael’s students have a long history of continuing to tertiary study and into various post school pathways. Following the recent release of VCE results, many of our Class of 2018 have achieved an ATAR that will enable them to take the next step into their chosen field.

But what does the culmination of 13 years of schooling feel like, and how do you cope with the pressures leading up to VCE exams? To give us an insight into what it’s like, we asked some of our students to share their story and tips for future VCE students.

Bronte Smeaton (12K)

This year, Bronte Smeaton led the students of St Michael’s as Co-Captain of the School, performed in the Senior Musical, played sport, worked tirelessly to help the School community break the Merry Month of May charity donation record, and applied herself to all her subjects to achieve a remarkable ATAR of 99.10.

“I definitely took on a heavy load this year with my School commitments, but for me personally, being involved in the 10-12 musical, ‘Legally Blonde’, enabled me to enjoy many moments away from the persistent school work of Year 12,” said Bronte.

“There were definitely times in the year for me that were more challenging than others, particularly when the School’s charity month, ‘Merry Month of May’, combined with production week of Legally Blonde and my Studio Arts folio deadline, but I always found staying busy with commitments forced me to be more proactive with my spare time, and encouraged me to stay organised. Although my subjects could be considered challenging, I made sure that I chose subjects that I loved and was clearly interested in. This made working hard for them much easier.”

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Bronte Smeaton

Whilst Bronte appeared to be everywhere at once this year juggling all her commitments at school, there were other more serious challenges that Bronte and her family had to overcome together.

“The most challenging part of the year for me was when my mother received news of a severe health issue in the weeks leading up to exams. It affected my ability to remain in a tight studying routine, and took a toll on my wellbeing as she was in hospital during my exams. Although this period was intense and dramatic for me and my family, on reflection, it taught me to trust myself and my consistency with studying across the year, as when I sat my exams I came to realise I knew much more than I thought. It also proved to me that my own courage and hard work could get me through anything,” said Bronte.

Reflecting on her time at St Michael’s, it was the breadth of activities that Bronte involved herself in that she fondly remembers.

“The culture and community at the School made me feel welcome from the very start,” said Bronte. “Some of my favourite memories of my time at St Michael’s stem from my involvement in the School’s co-curricular activities. A favourite for me would have to be my involvement in the 2016 European Tour Choir, I loved singing and travelling with an amazing group of people and it opened my eyes to different cultures and places overseas. However, it was the smaller activities such as Aerobics, House Drama, marching as a representative for the 14th/32nd Battalion on Anzac Day, the choirs, School concerts and the art trip to MONA, that really made my time here.”

“I think it is so important to immerse yourself in all that the school offers.”

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Bronte Smeaton Bronte performing in the Senior Musical, Legally Blonde

Of course, excelling in the role of Co-Captain of the School is a highlight of Bronte’s time, one that she will carry forward with her into her life beyond school.

“I loved getting to know some of the staff members more closely that I wouldn’t have been able to know if I didn’t get the role. Working with them and alongside them made my year rewarding and valuable,” said Bronte. “Through being School Captain I was able to grow in my public speaking, teamwork and organisational skills, which I know will equip me well for my future endeavours.”

“Breaking the school’s record for ‘Merry Month of May’ and raising $32,000 was a huge achievement for me and the student leadership team who worked very hard in the lead up to and during the month. It is amazing to think our hard work is helping people all across Australia.”

Having successfully navigated her way through a jam-packed year, and excelled in a variety of areas, what advice could Bronte share with future VCE students?

“My biggest piece of advice for VCE is to stay consistent across the year,” said Bronte. “From the very start of the year I worked hard to make sure I was always on top of my workload commitments. This made it much easier when it came to exam time and I had to revise the subject course. Instead of having to re-learn everything again from Term 1, I only had to re-memorise it.”

“My second piece of advice, is to pick the subjects you love. Don’t get caught up in the subjects that scale up or seem ‘more challenging’, I was able to work hard and achieve high results because I was genuinely passionate about what I was learning.”

This year Bronte studied Studio Arts Mixed Media (where she achieved a perfect score of 50), Theatre Studies, Literature, History: Revolutions and Further Mathematics.

“Studio Arts was a clear contender for my favourite VCE subject as it enabled me to explore my own concepts and passions deeply, as well as create artwork and a folio that reflected my own personality. Art for me was transformative and had the ability to take me away from the stress or challenges of Year 12. Honestly though, I genuinely loved all my subjects and I’d have to say History: Revolutions was the subject I loved learning about the most. I had an amazing teacher and I was constantly fascinated with the facts and humorous quirks of the past.”

Bronte is planning on studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University next year before completing a Juris Doctor.

“I am very passionate about international politics, and hope to be working in this field one day,” said Bronte.

We congratulate Bronte on all that she achieved in 2018, and wish her all the very best in what her future brings.