20 December, 2018 Community

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Olivia Walker

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.

Olivia Walker (12B)

In Year 12, Olivia Walker threw herself into just about everything. Olivia captained the Senior Touch Rugby team, received Gold Awards for Drama (Technical) and Cross Country, was House Swimming, House Chess and House Athletics Co-Captain, achieved a perfect score of 50 in Food Studies and an ATAR of 98.95, and was deservedly awarded the Prize for Work, Conduct and Involvement in School Life at Speech Night this month. Oh, and she did all this whilst working a part-time job.

So how did she manage such a busy year, so successfully?

“Being organised, wonderful friends, running, supportive teachers and plenty of Tim Tams!” said Olivia.

“My teachers were fabulous, being ever helpful and patient, and always willing to go above and beyond to help all of us out so we could achieve our best, especially in the lead up to exams. Finding ways to unwind and move away from school work was also crucial. I managed to fit in a part-time job at a kids’ party centre, and I tried to run regularly as a good way to de-stress.”

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Olivia Walker

“The challenge during the year was to stay motivated and on track while keeping things in perspective, even when my time and focus was demanded by so many different tasks.”

Olivia embraced her leadership roles this year, and suggested that working with younger students in her role as a House leader, and in School productions, highlighted her time at St Michael’s.

“I relished my opportunity as a senior student to work with younger students, and share in experiences I had enjoyed, whether it was on the sporting field, within the House structure, or as a crew member for the School productions. To see them grow, become more confident and be proud of what they achieved was something special.”

“Through my leadership roles I gained greater confidence in my ability to lead others, and a deeper understanding of what being a good and successful leader entails, as well as a stronger appreciation for aiding others towards their own, and team goals,” said Olivia.

Exodus, adventure racing and being a part of School productions are all among Olivia’s favourite memories during her six years at St Michael’s.

“They are all fast paced, collaborative environments where you are faced with the strangest problems but make the fastest friendships,” said Olivia. “It’s hard to pick one thing I enjoyed most at St Michael’s, I did so many different things!”

Reflecting on the Prize for Work, Conduct and Involvement in School Life, Olivia said it was an absolute “surprise” and “humbling”.

“I’ve always tried to do as well as I could with my work and be involved in as many things as possible,” said Olivia.

“The diverse range of activities and programs that St Michael’s offers is remarkable, and I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it was not for my participation in these. I learnt far more about myself and the people around me, from being outside the classroom. I am forever grateful for the opportunities offered to me.”

Like other students, Olivia’s advice for future VCE students is to choose subjects you are passionate about in order to stay motivated throughout the year.

“My advice to students entering VCE is to find a study routine that works for you – I always tried to work hard on Friday nights as crazy as that sounds so that I could try to have Sundays free to relax. Taking time to unwind is so important. Also, pick the right subjects and work consistently throughout the year. Be conscious of prerequisite subjects but choose ones that you think you will be interested to learn about, because if you’re not engaged at the start of the year, you certainly won’t be motivated come November,” Olivia says.

“I enjoyed all my subjects but I’d probably have to say Chemistry was my favourite this year. It was challenging but we had a lovely class and Ms Hayes kept us engaged all year. Food Studies was also a highlight. We cooked most weeks which was a nice break from all the written work that comes with Year 12, and allowed us to interact with the subject in ways other classes couldn’t.”

Olivia has already received an offer to study next year at The Victorian College of The Arts and Melbourne University.

“I am thrilled to say I will be studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Production and Design, at Melbourne University and The Victorian College of The Arts. Studying theatre was never really on my radar, yet after getting myself involved in the performing arts at St Michael’s, I found a love for the process of creating theatre and a wish to extend that into the future.”

We congratulate Olivia on a wonderfully full and successful Year 12, and wish her the very best next year and beyond.