Student Achiever - Isabella


My name is Isabella

I live in regional Victoria with my 3-year-old son. I enjoy learning about the world to broaden my global insight into the variety of topics that interest me. I have a lifelong interest in environmentalism, and incorporating environmentally conscious concepts into other disciplines.

My experience at OAC...

I had my son at the age of 16, and began my journey at Open Access College while I was pregnant, completing year 11 that year. I was determined to finish year 12 then go on to complete a bachelor’s degree, but as the sole parent to my son, I didn’t have enough time to complete year 12 in only one year. The flexibility available at OAC allowed me to spread my year 12 subjects over 3 years following the birth of my son; I went on to graduate in 2020 at the age of 19.

OAC afforded me the opportunity to complete my high school education while embracing the experience of motherhood. The flexibility of online learning was ideal compared to in-person schooling as it allowed me to manage my schoolwork while looking after my son, enabling me to develop independent study habits and achieve learning goals without intruding on the time I spend with my son. My time management skills improved immensely as I adapted to self-studying in my own time, rather than working to a specific schedule that could have compromised my learning given my time constraints. Having this control gave me a more immersive learning experience and increased my sense of responsibility as I was fully in control of my study time.

My advice to future and current students is to try to make your study time work around your home commitments, and not let either one take over all of your time; this will help you achieve both your academic and personal goals. Like myself, some students may not be in a position to study in specific time slots. My suggestion is to look at the subject outlines and designate what work you will do on each day of the week. For example, if you need to do reading, watch a video, and complete an activity before your next lesson every week, assign each task to a specific day before the next lesson. By assigning tasks to the days rather than to specific times, this will give you some guidance for when you will study without the pressure of needing to study at a certain time if you have time constraints and other commitments. This worked particularly well for me, as I couldn’t specify exact times for when I could study due to my parenting commitments.

And today...

I have begun my journey in another online learning environment, undertaking a Bachelor of International Public Health jointly through the University of New South Wales and Arizona State University after receiving an early round offer. I have a particular interest in improving health outcomes and quality of life within disadvantaged demographics, and eventually integrating environmentally conscious concepts into health-related decisions; during my final year of year 12, I undertook a certificate from Harvard University in the health effects of climate change, which is a central focus for me. The 4 years I spent learning and growing with OAC have prepared me for the increasingly online world of education, and have been advantageous as more learning resources and disciplines extend to an online platform to adapt to COVID-19, giving me experience in the online education field before it became a western norm.

I would like to thank all of my teachers and student wellbeing leaders for their support and encouragement throughout my journey at OAC, including Ingred Perry, Katie Piper, and Zena Wotton (student wellbeing leaders), Gill Maguire and Jess Vallelonga (English), Marg Treleaven (Research Project), Pene Robertson (Women’s Studies), Sophia Mazzaferro (Health), and Kelly Sharrad (Earth and Environmental Science), and anyone else who I’ve missed!

Last updated: 23 February 2021