30 May 2024

Pathways to success: Carey’s Class of 2023 on where they are now (part two)

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Pathways to success: Carey’s Class of 2023 on where they are now (part two)
Pathways to success: Carey’s Class of 2023 on where they are now (part two)
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In our last newsletter we shared the stories of Class of 2023 graduate Amelie, Christian and Joseph. This time, we’ve spoken to Sharon, Matthew and Jacob about what they’re up to now and how they got there.

Sharon Zhang

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Sharon published a book of her poetry at the end of last year!
Sharon published a book of her poetry at the end of last year!

What are you doing now and what pathways did you take to get there?

I’m currently taking a gap semester before heading to the University of Oxford to start a Bachelor of Arts in History. I’m currently working, travelling and experimenting with my writing. I’m hoping to take up a writer’s residency later this year, as well as read as much as possible!

What was the process for getting into Oxford?

Getting accepted into Oxford was stressful, to say the least. I had to improve my IB grades significantly to meet their entrance requirements, as well as sit an entrance exam, submit an original piece of written work, then complete an interview. All of this was during my final exams, but I’m glad to have done it.

What was your experience with the IB like?

I struggled to cope with the demands of IB: it was quite an adjustment getting lower scores in English and History than I had been used to! But I had the support of some brilliant teachers throughout school. I also remember the way the tight-knit culture of the IB created a real community, which was a highlight of my final years at school. I was encouraged to consistently leave my comfort zone and meet new people, which has ultimately made me a better person.

Who supported you through this at Carey?

In particular, my teachers went to every effort possible to make sure I had necessary accommodations to get my classwork in on time (or at all), while I was struggling. On top of this, my IB History teacher, Mr Kellett, and IB English teacher, Ms Scott, provided immense support by writing references for me and reviewing my applications to university. Ms Scott also always read my writing, especially my poetry, which helped a frazzled and over-worked Sharon get through the final stages of submitting her book to publishers! My mentor, Ms Delfos, was also always there to help me work through any problems with school, or even just to have a chat with during lunch. I’m eternally grateful for her.

Do you have any advice for current and future Year 12s?

Remember that there is a life to live after Year 12. It’s easy to get caught up in IAs, SACs, mock exams. But all of that stopped mattering the second I got my ATAR. The little things I was obsessed with, my friendships, formal, etc etc, turned out not to really matter at all. I could have gone without crying over my Psychology IA. It seems like the biggest deal in the world, and there’s a lot of pressure put onto Year 12s, but it’s just a year. Even if you don’t get the grades you hoped for, there are other pathways. Take it seriously, but don’t let it totally override your life.

Jacob Whitechurch

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This year, Jacob is working at Carey as an Outdoor Ed Trainee
This year, Jacob is working at Carey as an Outdoor Ed Trainee

What are you up to this year?

I decided to become a member of the Carey Outdoor Ed team this year because of my amazing experiences at school camps. When I was a student I was always super keen to be going on the camps offered for me as a student. I also was a Year 11 leader on a Hattah camp which showed me the other side of being on a school camp as a leader. This again further ignited my passion for Outdoor Education and led me to sign up for the role of Outdoor Education Trainee.

What was it like going from finishing Year 12 to returning just two months later as a staff member?

It was a weird change at first, going from being a student in November to starting my full-time job in February. But the Carey community welcomed me as a staff member with open arms and made me feel really welcome as a staff member. I received great training at the staff professional development days which helped me connect with some of my old teachers as a staff member instead of as a student.

What do you like about working at Carey?

My favourite thing about working at Carey is the amazing community that instantly welcomed me as a staff member. Everyone in the community is so nice and made the transition from student to staff member that much easier. The outdoor education team also welcomed me with open arms which made me going into my new role so much more comfortable.

Is Outdoor Education something you’re interested in pursuing beyond this year?

I think next year I will either go to university and do a Bachelor of Business or continue working in the Outdoor Education industry. By the end of this year, I will have my Certificate IV in Outdoor Leadership through Box Hill Industry which is an amazing credential to have to continue a career in Outdoor Ed. Through my job I have also had many amazing experiences such as doing my Swiftwater Rescue Training at the Snowy River, a defensive driving course and an amazing range of trips through Box Hill Industry.

Matthew Whitaker

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Matthew is also working as an Outdoor Ed Trainee at Carey this year
Matthew is also working as an Outdoor Ed Trainee at Carey this year

You’re also a Carey Outdoor Ed Trainee this year – what influenced you to sign up?

I didn’t feel ready to go to uni, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but knew I needed a break from study. This opportunity came to my attention and I knew I had to give it ago and that I’d regret not applying for it.

Has it been an interesting transition from student to staff member?

Going from a student to staff member was a weird experience. It’s now Term 2 and I still call my teachers Mr/Ms about half the time. On the first personal development days at the start of the year I felt at first like I didn’t belong, but my department was so kind and inclusive.

What has the job been like so far?

I think that without the inclusivity I wouldn’t enjoy my job as much as I do. I like the freedom of being able to do things myself but still be supported when I need it. I think that Carey has a really great staff team who make day-to-day work enjoyable and different each day.

What do you hope to do next year and beyond?

I’m not completely sure yet, but I’m thinking of doing some freelance work across different schools while possibly at uni. I am hoping to work on some of the Carey camps next year as an assistant group leader as well.

Kelly Southworth

Content Developer, Community Engagement

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