2021 College Captain, Steven Tran
Led by teachers who truly understand their students, independent learning has been a crucial skill students have fine tuned and maintained over the last two years; finding the motivation and passion to keep learning within themselves. Gaining skills with immense benefit in tertiary education and in the workplace, College Captain Steven Tran speaks about how self-motivation and independently-led learning has shaped his plans for the future.
How have your study habits changed this year?
In the past few years, I’ve made it my goal to ensure that I develop the correct study habits to put me in good stead for this year, so in this sense, I didn’t find too much change in my habits, but rather my attitudes and mentality. In the lead-up to exams especially, I found myself to be more forgiving and more flexible with my time. Knowing I had put in the hard yards throughout the year, I gradually became more forgiving of the previously dreaded ‘rest day’ and the unproductivity that came with it, knowing that it was these rests that were pivotal in sustaining my efficiency in the long run.
Did learning independently change how you connected with your subjects and tasks?
Personally, I was able to develop a very close connection to all of my subjects through online learning. With the flexibility of time, I was able to work ahead, iron over the crevices that I struggled with, and recap the areas I was proficient in. Through this, I came to develop a nuanced understanding of most, if not all aspects of all subjects that I had studied this year.
Did you find yourself spending more time on what interested you?
100%; during my time at school, I had identified maths to be a strength of mine and a subject that I had always thoroughly enjoyed. For my VCE, I played to this strength in both Mathematical Methods and Specialist Maths and found that I relished and loved the challenge that both presented, particularly the latter, and found myself to be doing more maths above all else.
What did you do when you found a problem you couldn’t solve yourself?
Contrary to what I would do in previous years, I would actually leave it for a few hours or a day, hoping that once I came back to it, I was able to have more of an objective outlook on the problem and perhaps see something that I had not previously seen before. If all else failed, my teachers were of great assistance to me and would always willingly reply within a few hours or help me on the spot, given we were at school.
How did you approach collaborative projects this year?
A common theme for 2021 was flexibility. Whether it would be in the classroom with lessons, or some of my work as College Captain, the need to be adaptable in our plans and projects resonated more than ever. For me, I found that embracing this dynamic change with an objective mindset and preparing for all possible outcomes was paramount to achieving defined success in all aspects of schooling life this year.
Does your idea of a future career involve independent work?
I am looking into a career in Medicine, likely in the domain of Sports Medicine. Part of the reason I am so drawn to this field, is the diversity that it has in terms of the type of work you do and who you do it with. Whether it would be collaborating with fellow Medical students or doctors, or working on my own to help treat a patient, I know I will be ready to thrive thanks to my experiences at Salesian.
What unique skills do you think working online has given you?
Resilience. I have always been the type of student that relishes a challenge, being forced to dig deep and really push myself towards my ambitions. 2021 blew this way out of proportion, but ultimately, I am so thankful. The perseverance that I had developed in challenging myself to be switched on for upwards of 9 hours a day, in an often stagnant setting is something that I can look back on and be proud of, as well as bring forth to my next challenge in life.
What degree are you set to study and at what university?
Believe it or not, my work is not done! My ultimate goal is Medicine at Monash University, pending an interview early next year. If this does not take shape, then so be it, I will still carry my head high and look to study Physiotherapy, also at Monash.
Steven earned an ATAR of 98.9, a score of 46 in English and 42 in Mathematical Methods.