One of the silver linings of 2020 for VSV student, Georgie, was that she was named Virtual School Victoria’s (VSV’s) school dux.
Georgie first started studying part-time at VSV when she was in year six and could no longer physically attend a mainstream school.
‘I was chronically fatigued and struggled to have the energy to attend mainstream school. I did this for four years and attended VSV full-time for VCE,’ said Georgie.
‘I knew that if I wanted to do VCE, and do well, it was unsustainable for me to stay at a mainstream school. Travelling to school left me exhausted; the rigid schedule made my health start to decline.’
Georgie said that VSV was a good choice for her as it gave her flexibility to study.
‘As someone with a chronic illness, my energy levels fluctuate. I often have very little energy during the day. VSV allowed me to work at the times I was feeling my best – this was often between 8.00pm-12.00am. It made such a difference having the flexibility to study when I felt good.’
Georgie would like to encourage other VSV students who have mental or physical health problems to strive to be their best, despite the challenges they face.
‘It can be isolating when you aren’t well and studying. I didn’t know anyone else in the same situation when I started at VSV; it was a bit intimidating. I hope the following tips will support others with health problems.’
Georgie’s Four Healthy Study Habits
1) Utilise the flexibility. Do your study when your health is best and be okay with a flexible schedule that isn’t confined to set hours of study. I studied subjects I enjoyed most, or that I found easiest, when I felt unwell. I saved the harder work for when I felt better.
2) Attend your online lessons. Even if you aren’t well enough to participate or chat in a class, you’ll always learn from listening to your teacher and other students.
3) Use your time effectively. For me, this meant prioritising practice questions over rewriting notes.
4) Be kind to yourself. Try not to compare yourself to others. Going through a health condition is difficult; you need to set realistic expectations for yourself and aim to do the best that you’re capable of.
Acting Principal, Fiona Webster, added that VSV has a dedicated and caring team behind every learner and a specialist Student Wellbeing Team is also available to help.
Georgie is currently taking a gap year and will start a Bachelor of Science at Monash University in 2022. She hopes to pursue a career in food technology or pharmaceuticals.
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