Many moons ago, when I was a slip of a girl in Year 10, I had a total meltdown about the subjects I should study for the HSC.
I thought I wanted to be a pharmacist, so I’d signed myself up for physics and chemistry. The only problem was that I was very bad at physics and chemistry … and maths … and all that technical stuff … despite having a father with a science degree.
I was so bad at maths that my parents paid $20 an hour for a tutor, which I imagine was a fairly princely sum back in the 80s.
What I loved to study at school – and was good at – were history and English and art (just the art history side of it, I was pretty crap at the art itself).
Then I had an epiphany … what I really wanted to be when I grew up was the editor of Dolly magazine.
So I sat my parents down (actually, I have no recollection of how I broke the news or whether there was any sitting involved) and told them I was ditching the science stuff to do three-unit ancient history, art, modern history, three-unit English and the compulsory two-unit maths.
I expected major push back from my parents about my complete turnaround, but I don’t recall getting any. If I did, it wasn’t particularly bolshie. They agreed to let me gamble my HSC away on the humanities.
It worked out pretty well. If you remember the old HSC marking system, I got 406 out of 500, which wasn’t too shabby.
And I decided to fulfil my dream of becoming a journalist, despite my parents cautioning that I had my “head in the clouds” due to my terrible shyness.
Undeterred by my ill-suited character, I scored a journalism degree place at Mitchell College in Bathhurst, deferred for a year to save the money to support myself, then abandoned further education after getting a cadetship at the Newcastle Herald.
I never became the editor of Dolly magazine, but I was editor of Singapore CLEO for two years, which was kinda close.
Anyways, that’s a long introduction to last night’s events, which involved the eldest begging to drop science and take up a TAFE subject called Design Fundamentals – which means no ATAR. We’re staring down the barrel of a deadline to make the subject changes, so I’ve been feeling a little pressured.
My ex and I are both very unhappy with the prospect of our child not getting an ATAR. We feel it’s best to keep as many educational options open as possible.
Our concern is a little ironic, as neither of us have university degrees.
Do as we say and not as we do and all that jazz.
The eldest is adamant that a university degree is not on the cards. Art college is about the sum of his potential educational desires for the future, should the tattoo artist thing not pan out.
I went to an information night at the eldest’s school last night and quizzed the teachers about how no ATAR impacts on getting into art college.
They all seemed pretty cool with it and said it’s more about having a killer portfolio than marks.
I still felt like I was about to have a panic attack for the rest of the night over the enormity of the no ATAR thing, which probably isn’t really so enormous.
Even typing the words this morning is getting my heart rate up.
The eldest is dropping science today and hoping to squeeze into the Design Fundamentals course.
And I am hoping to be OK with it and that everything will turn out just fine.
Art college would be an awesome outcome.
PS In other news, DD’s mate Nick has written another totally unique and interesting post for The Thirsty Travellers on a place called Saxapahaw, which happens to be a hop and a skip from where DD is currently staying on business. Unfortunately there will be no time for a side trip in his busy schedule.
Nick writes …”Try it on: Saxapahaw…pronounced “sax-ah-puh-HAW”… pull it out with a Southern drawl. See? Not only are you relaxed and intrigued, you want to go there and see what’s in store for you.”
Song of the day: Fleetwood Mac “Go your own way”
After teaching kids for 25 years I can say that the options post school are increasing rather than decreasing. At the University of Newcastle they have an option called NewStep. This is for kids who want to get into University but there ATAR was not high enough or they didn’t get an ATAR. Many past students I have taught have taken this road and have been successful in getting into UoN and have been successful with their degrees. Currently this is a free course. More details at https://www.newcastle.edu.au/study/undergraduate/getting-in/other-pathways-and-study-options/newstep/about-newstep
Thank you Mark, that is good to know. I am feeling increasingly relaxed as the messages come in from parents who’ve been through it all and teachers who’ve reassured me.