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Meet Michelle Lim: Ballerina and budding psychologist


16 January 2013

Michelle Lim: "It is the first time for a long time I'll be back in a classroom study environment. I'm excited and a little bit nervous."
Michelle Lim: "It is the first time for a long time I'll be back in a classroom study environment. I'm excited and a little bit nervous."

Dancing ballet by day and studying by night was a way of life for Michelle Lim for five years.

The disciplined routine has seen her not only complete her HSC and qualify for a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney but earn a Diploma of Classical Ballet and represent Australia at an international competition in Chicago. All by the age of 19.

Her experiences along the way have uncovered a career path in psychology.

"Ever since I was little I loved dancing around the house. My mum and aunty noticed and at the age of seven took me along to join the tiny local ballet school," Michelle said.

By the age of 15 Michelle was enrolled in full-time ballet. From Year 9 in high school she was dancing from 9am to 3.30pm, then coming home to study until 10pm as a student of the Sydney Distance Education School.

In 2010 life got even more complicated. "I went to Hong Kong to study a diploma two in classical ballet, at the same time as doing my HSC. I did my HSC over two years so I could fit everything in."

While dancing, studying dance theory and occasionally performing Michelle started her HSC studies in English, biology, physics, maths and legal studies.

"I enjoy studying and I have always loved science. Originally I planned to pursue research in microbiology but my struggles with an eating disorder and those of my friends have given me an interest in clinical psychology."

"My experience made me realised that an eating disorder is a symptom of psychological issues and that you need to address them to recover."

This insight spurred Michelle to make her future goal a major in psychology. She also plans to pursue postgraduate legal studies because she believes knowledge of the law is of great benefit in supporting people with mental health issues.

"It goes both ways as I think lawyers should also improve their understanding of mental health issues, which are often a factor in legal cases."

For the moment she is looking forward to coming to the University of Sydney. "It is the first time for a long time I'll be back in a classroom study environment. I'm excited and a little bit nervous."

As for her ballet, Michelle plans to take some classes and perhaps one day return to dancing or teaching.

Michelle Lim is part of the University's first Early Offer Year 12 Scheme (E12) cohort. Announced by the University in 2012 to assist students who have been financially disadvantaged during their time at school, the scheme enables school principals to nominate up to 10 students they believe show the potential to succeed at the University of Sydney. The principals' recommendations are then considered by a select panel from the University, which may also interview applicants for some courses.


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Media enquiries: Verity Leatherdale, 02 9351 4312, 0403 067 342, verity.leatherdale@sydney.edu.au