At this time of year, thousands of NSW students are stressing and studying for their Higher School Certificate.
The HSC is one of the biggest things a teenager will go through and there is a huge amount of pressure to do well.
Someone who didn’t do so well in her own HSC was Jessica Knight.
Ms Knight freely admits that high school wasn’t the environment for her and she received a Universities Admissions Indexof 49.95.
Determined to chase her dream of a career in science, Ms Knight enrolled in Western Sydney University’s The College – an alternative pathway to higher education.
“I did have a lot of doubt and thought that dream was over when I got my HSC result,” she said. “The College was the best thing to happen for me. I worked really hard and had to overcome a lot of personal demons to get through, but without The College I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to where I am now.”
Ms Knight graduated from the college and began her career at the university’s Campbelltown campus, studying a Bachelor of Science with a major in biochemistry.
Her success continued and she has now handed in her PhD thesis.
Ms Knight’s PhD research was undertaken at south-west Sydney hospitals, including Campbelltown.
She wants teenagers currently going through the HSC to understand it is not the only way into university.
“I think it should be made clearer to students that it’s not a case of ‘if you don’t do well in your HSC, it’s over for you’. When I was at school these other pathways were never discussed, but you can still get to uni through things like The College or TAFE. The high school way of learning isn’t for everyone, like it wasn’t for me, and uni and TAFE provides much more self-driven education.”