On behalf of our community, I congratulate our 2020 Dux, Jordan Dam who achieved an ATAR of 99.7 putting him in the top 0.3% of all Year 12 students in the state. Achieving a study score of 49 in both Chemistry, Mathematical Methods, 46 in Physics and Specialist Mathematics and 40 in English, Jordan is set to study Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne.
I spoke to Jordan about how he remained focused in the face of COVID-19, and the key people in his life who provided him with support and guidance. I also had the opportunity to hear Jordan share his plans for the future.
Jordan, your steady commitment to learning and your ability to focus has been outstanding. Explain how you managed this during what has been a very challenging year.
Although Year 12 was definitely more challenging, especially in maintaining continuous commitment, I had chosen the VCE subjects that I knew I would enjoy most and would put my best effort into learning. As I liked the subjects I chose, it made it easier for me to be committed, focused and motivated to learn. This made studying less of a matter of endurance and pressure, but instead a process that was more relaxing and enjoyable despite the challenges of this year.
What modern learning strategies have proved to be the most useful across your secondary schooling?
It was crucial for me to always be prepared each day, so I did not end up spending too much time and effort into studying without a general goal set in mind. I found that creating checklists for myself everyday has enabled me to efficiently learn throughout my secondary schooling. Utilising a checklist aided in maintaining self-motivation, especially in a year where my motivation to study had been drastically impacted by the lockdowns.
Now that results are out, what are your immediate plans?
Now that I have more time available, my plans are to spend the holidays with my friends and family. I want to make the most of the long break before university starts and time becomes limited again.
With exceptional results come a broad range of options. How will these options help you arrive at your overall future goal?
I understand that my future goals are ambitious, and that even having the broad range of course options from a high ATAR will not guarantee anything. It is more about maintaining a consistent work ethic and always finding ways to improve that will enable me to achieve my future goals.
What have been your biggest learnings during the challenges of this year?
This year I have learnt to manage my time better especially with remote learning taking up the majority of my final school year. Without being at school, my daily schedule was disrupted and it had become important for me to find a balance between studying and taking breaks without overexerting myself or procrastinating too much. Despite the challenges of remote learning, I was able to improve how I structured my day and schedule my study periods.
How have your teachers helped guide you and keep you focused during Year 12?
During the lockdown where we underwent online learning, I understood the importance of engaging with my teachers and classes. I knew that whenever I was faced with uncertainty, my teachers were always willing to go out of their way to provide support for me. They ensure that every student remains on track and that no one is left behind.
What role has courage and belief in yourself played in helping you to achieve your goals?
With a sense of courage and belief, I had become more confident in myself rather than constantly doubting my own abilities. Having this mindset made VCE less stressful and my goals became more attainable.
What have your Salesian relationships taught you?
This year, through the relationships formed at Salesian, I have learnt the importance of comradery and staying committed to my friendships. It has taught me that I will always have a support network and people I can always depend on even during times of distress.
What three points of advice for students do you have to share?
Take plenty of breaks, get ahead in your learning, work together with your peers not against them.
On behalf of Salesian College Chadstone, I congratulate Jordan on the commitment and perseverance he has demonstrated over the course of his time at Salesian College Chadstone and during 2020. We look forward to hearing about all of his future accomplishments.