Post-HSC advice from class of 2016 graduates

Brandy Carmichael on campus at Macquarie University.

Brandy Carmichael on campus at Macquarie University.

ENJOY the break, don’t worry about results, have a goal but be flexible about how you reach it – as the HSC exams came to an end this week, this was the advice from last year’s graduates.

When The Northern Daily Leaderinterviewed Sarah Wood and Brandy Carmichael last December, they’d already gained early entry into university.

Now the two young women have shared their reflections from their first year of Life After the HSC.

Gap year: Sarah Wood

Sarah has taken a gap year before she goes to Macquarie University, with plans to do a double degree in arts and science.

She said she was pleased with her decision; she’d been working up to 30 hours a week at South Tamworth McDonald’s but it hasn’t been all serious.

“It’s been good how much I’ve been able to save, more than I expected, and it will help out next year,” Sarah said.

Sarah Wood before her Year 12 formal.

Sarah Wood before her Year 12 formal.

“I’ve had a fun time and been able to hang out with friends and family.

“It’s been good to have no school or learning to concentrate on and to have free time.

“I don’t feel like I made the wrong choice. I didn’t really have many plans; I just knew I didn't want to go straight to uni.”

Sarah said her advice to the class of 2017 was “not to worry about the results they get, because everything will turn out fine”.

“You’ll probably get into uni and, if not, there are other ways to achieve what you want to achieve,” she said.

“I was never really super concerned with my marks because there are so many different ways can get into uni, and there’s TAFE, apprenticeships – so many ways you can get a job, so I was never really super-duper concerned.

“I’m excited and ready for it to happen now that I’ve had the whole year off ... I’ve had a good rest and now I’m ready for it, ready to learn again.”

First year: Brandy Carmichael

Brandy is winding up her first year of a primary education and arts double degree at Macquarie.

She was equally happy with her first year after high school, but said it had been a big adjustment – especially leaving home.

“It’s been great, one of the best experiences I’ve had so far, and I can’t believe how quick this year has gone,” she said.

“I was quite daunted by the idea of moving to Sydney, but I moved into a college … with another 150 students who didn’t have this experience either.

“So we were all kind of chucked in together and that made it such an inviting environment for all of us: we’re all in this together.”

She said her advice to young people going to uni next year was to make sure they were ready and had a goal but were aware that could change.

“I think whatever you want to make out of university, you can make out if it; there are so many opportunities, it’s just up to you what you make of them,” she said.

“My biggest advice is to go after what you want to do, and whilst it might be daunting, there’s plenty of opportunities to change your mind later on, and go into different areas of study … you’re not locked in to completing that one specific area you decided to study.”

Brandy said going to university was “one of the best decisions I’ve made ... it gives you a whole new outlook on life”.