BCE 2022 graduate reflection



As Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) Year 12 students prepare to graduate this Friday 18 November 2022, Mary MacKillop College Nundah student and College Captain Jorja Drew reflects on her experience as a school leader and details her plans to make an impact post-graduation.  

Jorja Drew:   

In the words of civil rights activist, Malcom X, “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” 
I am now 17 years old and education has filled 13 years of my life and has been the place in which I felt I have belonged. To summarise all the highlights, triumphs, and memories of the year 2022 into just a few moments is an unthinkable task considering the immense joy, learning, and wisdom I have encountered throughout my schooling.  

Attending Mary Mackillop College Nundah as both a senior student and College Captain has been one of my most cherished moments and fondest memories. The opportunities to represent the College in sporting, cultural, service and justice pursuits has fostered my passion and desire to make a difference in the world.  

In 2022, by invitation of the Sisters of St Joseph, I was fortunate to be able to lead the nation-wide student groups Josephites Acting with Asylum Seeker People and Josephite Activists for Climate Change, advocating for social justice around Australia. Most gratefully, I was the 2022 recipient of the Mary MacKillop College Prize of Honour, an award recognising a student who epitomises the attributes of Saint Mary Mackillop by demonstrating outstanding service, leadership, academic performance, conduct, and application to studies and College life. 

Besides academic and personal achievements, I have utilised the advantage of different extra-curricular activities to polish myself into a well-rounded person and a growing leader. I have engaged in numerous group endeavours, most notably, the Debate Team, Guitar Ensemble, Chats for Change, Tech Crew, Athletics Team, and Environment Committee, that have inspired me in my continual pursuit of knowledge. I highly recommend undertaking co-curricular activities that spark your interest, as they provide a channel to reinforce lessons learnt in the classroom, while also applying academic skills in real-world context, with other like-minded individuals.  

In my senior years, I undertook the subjects of Modern History, Literature, Religion and Ethics, Design, Biology and Mathematical Methods, tailoring them to support my ambitions to enrol at the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation)/Bachelor of Laws program.  

These subjects, while highly engaging and gratifying, equipped me with the knowledge and skills to leap into the ‘real world’ with confidence, intellectual curiosity, critical thinking skills, and to challenge and exceed the status quo and social boundaries. It was through these subjects, and my personal motivation that I achieved the results necessary to court a conditional offer from ACU to study my dream course of a Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation)/Bachelor of Laws, accompanied by ACU’s Ramsay Scholarship.  

A reading from Saint Mother Teresa quotes that "[she] alone cannot change the world, but [she] can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." With this mantra in mind, this course will provide me with a platform to academically engage with global issues and professionally make a difference in the changing world we live in. 

However, achieving my aspirations has not been challenge-free, and accordingly, I would love to share my most advantageous advice for future students.  

Firstly, it is easy to get caught in the trap of comparing your own marks, results, and achievements with the successes of others around you. As teenagers in the 21st century, we are surrounded by a flurry of rush and immense pressure, particularly intensified through social media. The internet age itself encourages comparison and idolises particular attributes over others. It can also discourage and undermine your talents, if you dwell on the mistakes, regrets or missed opportunities of the past. While admiring other’s accomplishments, you can go on your own self-improvement journey.  Instead, turn the present into another thing you wish you did differently. The only way to lead a happier journey is to construct a joyful present.  

Out of all my studies and time at school, the greatest things I have learnt in my journey has come from my peers and the students that have surrounded me. A friend of mine reminds me of two simple words, ‘floating rock,’ every time we receive marks back, or we are about to enter an exam.  

These two words remind me to focus on the important things in my life and be grateful for how lucky I am in the grand scheme of things. Perspective is a fine thing. Whether it’s a math’s test which didn’t go the way you planned, or an English text you stressed over memorizing for weeks or even months, you need to focus on perspective. All these things are mere slivers of your schooling life and they do not define you as an individual. So, while you’re on this floating rock, focus on the things that are important to you and that bring you joy.  

Finally, the teachers, role models and mentors that have fostered me throughout my journey, you have played an imperative role in shaping my learning journey and subsequent achievements. Your unending support and nurturing nature provided a springboard for me to shoot for the stars, and as cliché as it sounds, to follow my dreams. Similarly, to my family I owe all that I have earnt, learnt, and loved. Their unwavering support, stability and love has spurred me to become the very person I am today. For all these people, I am indefinitely grateful.  
In a year that has been fraught with unpredictability, the 2022 seniors have risen to its challenges through both adopting and adapting to change. This year has taught us to grow and to be open to new things. It has given us opportunities to innovate, create, dream and although we have been physically, emotionally, and socially distanced at times, the close connections we have forged with one another, and within our community, have never been separated. With only one chapter closing, the books of our adult lives are still to be written – full of adventures, new beginnings, new knowledge, new possibilities -  a whole world to explore with open hearts and open minds. 

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