Year 10: Subjects backed with passion, win for Finn

14 May 2020

Our Year 10 students are now contemplating what courses to study in Year 11 and 12. The decision making is not too far away. To date, there have been three separate evening information sessions on Zoom run by Heads of Department or Senior Teachers covering Mathematics, the Sciences and Humanities to give all Year 10 students and their parents, an understanding of what each course involves. There will be another three information sessions running next week to deep dive into Languages, VET and externally studied courses, Business Studies, Art & Design and the Performing Arts plus more.

A copy of the Year 11 & 12 Curriculum Handbook is now available for all students that wish to have a look at what Glenaeon Senior School offers.

In the last newsletter edition, Ruby Vella shared her reflections on subject selection, and this time we have current Year 12 Student, Finn Gladstone sharing his experience...

What subjects are you studying this year?
I’m studying English Advanced with Extension 1, Biology with Science Extension and Music 2 with Music Extension.

Which subjects did you study in Year 11?
I studied English Advanced (+ext1), accelerated Advanced Mathematics, Music 2, Chemistry, Society & Culture and Biology.

How did you decide which subjects to study? How did you pick? What were the factors you considered when choosing?
I primarily examined which subjects I gained the most enjoyment and validation from while studying... In my opinion it’s more efficient and enjoyable in the long run to pick a subject with a background of passion rather than primarily on good marks.

Which subjects are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about all my subjects and I was lucky that I could narrow my study to my three primary areas of interest (Music, English, Science) through the addition of extension units. This allowed me to spend my time on a condensed layout of broader subjects and further my knowledge and ability through extension units. 

Did you have an end game in mind, re University, or are you following your interests?
University is certainly my primary goal… I’m currently investigating a Bachelor of Design in Architecture at (ideally) UTS, UNSW or USYD as I see it as a blend of art, science and mathematics. But I am careful to not fixate on one course and maintain an open mind to any new fields or passions I may discover throughout the year.

Were you happy with the level of choice you had?
I was very grateful to be given such good options with regards to subject selection, particularly regarding my extension units. 

Did you pick subjects that you never-ever dreamed you’d be studying? 
I certainly never expected to be doing Science extension; it’s a new course that involves an independent research project, similar to a PhD thesis, as well as high-level statistics. The course is brand new, with its first exam year in 2019, and I never expected I could undertake a mini-research project in any context other than university! I’m currently studying velvet geckos at Dharawal national park with students from UTS.

Did you own final choices surprise you?
No… I’ve always been interested in the areas of English, Science and Music and hence it made sense that those would be my final areas of study before uni. 

Who did you ask for advice before you made your decisions?
I talked to teachers, friends, parents and family. 

How supported do you feel?
There was plenty of input from the school as they hosted several information evenings throughout Year 10 where senior teachers would present their courses which made it very clear the areas of study we could choose from. I felt confident in what I chose for Year 11 and what I continued through Year 12. [NB: this year due to COVID-19 these subject information sessions are on ZOOM]

Has there been a subject that has surpassed your expectations?
I have enjoyed the English advanced course thoroughly and have appreciated the opportunity for high-level analysis that the new syllabus has brought. 

How are you managing the workload?
It took me a while to slip into the working frame of mind: a decent study timetable scaffold is very useful, as it provides a medium for routine and regularity which helps to mitigate lack of concentration and focus issues. My schedule is brief and not incredibly strict, which suits how I work and my personality, and hence I think an individualised workplan that reflects how you work is crucial. 

How have you coped with COVID-19 challenges?
COVID-19 has been challenging but manageable… again a regular sense of routine helps to mitigate a lack of concentration. Regular video calls, group chats etc help to maintain social connections, motivation and a sense of optimism during these strange times.

What advice would you give to our Year 10s who are about to make subject selection decisions?
I would say it is critical you choose the subjects you enjoy – those are the ones you have the best chance of performing well in. There’s a lot of jargon about scaling, etc. and I think it’s detrimental to your experience if you try to micromanage those factors through the selection of your subjects. Bottom line is – however you perform in your assessments will be reflected by your ATAR. So choose the subjects you enjoy and hence, will grant you the better chance of performing well as study is easier, more fulfilling and has a greater purpose. It’s not worth slugging through a challenging, lifeless subject for a 1 to 2% increase in your ATAR when that time could be more efficiently spent on subjects backed with passion.