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Our students: then and now

19 October 2017
Six students look back at the journey from Year 12 to university

Hear what worked and what didn't, how they got to where they are, and what they learned along the way.

Megan Fitzgerald in Year 12

Megan Fitzgerald

Age 18, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws

I am studying a Bachelor of Arts/Law at the University of Sydney. And loving it. At school I was told that I was the Arts type – that the English, philosophy and history courses would be the perfect fit for a student like me. And they were right, to a certain extent. What they didn’t tell me was that Arts wouldn’t just fit. It would expand my mind, teaching me a new way to think, framing the way I read, the way I process information, the way I converse.

Megan Fitzgerald now

I love Law too. It confuses me and muddles me just before it clicks. And when it clicks, it makes all the trouble and toil worthwhile. I like that my degree gives me the opportunity to make a change. I have the creative capacity and the critical thinking skills that give me a real shot at making my mark on the world. I’d like this mark to be a positive one, something that stamps out injustice in society and upholds virtue in a world that really needs it. As I study at Sydney University, I’m excited to continue to explore my potential to make this change.


Zahin Chowdhury in Year 12 and now

Zahin Chowdhury

Age 18, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Design in Architecture (Honours) and Master of Architecture

Studying architecture is vastly different from what I expected. I imagined it to be designing buildings from the outset, learning how structures support loads and understanding what exactly makes a building appeal to the public. What I ended up designing was an obscure bamboo apparatus that alters the senses, drawing capsicums to understand how to view things three-dimensionally and deciding for myself, what makes a building great.

It’s been a rollercoaster adventure founded on comradery with my peers and a deep passion for pushing the creative limits. I’ve learnt to be confident and open with who I am and accept criticism without judgement. Learning to shift my priorities from the world of high school mind to reality has demanded the most, but is one of the ways I think I’ve become a better and more grounded person.


Heather Prowse in Year 12 and now

Heather Prowse

Age 24, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Music (Performance)

I’m a trumpet player about to finish my Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium. It’s nothing like the movie “Whiplash”! Being a musician isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. My peers at the Con are also my friends and colleagues; we go to class together, do gigs together and support each other’s careers. When I was in high school, I was a massive jazz nerd. While I still enjoy jazz, I’ve learned to play all kinds of improvised music at the Con, and I love exploring all of it! Getting this degree has been my dream since I was 14. Now that I’ve almost finished, I’m looking forward to making and kicking new creative goals next year.


Justin Wu in Year 12

Justin Wu

Age 18, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Science (Advanced)/Doctor of Medicine

Justin is a first year student studying the Bachelor of Science (Advanced)/Doctor of Medicine, thinking about majoring in biochemistry and chemistry. He is passionate about pioneering medical research into neurological disorders, music of all types, and he can chat your ear off about any interesting topic.

Justin Wu now

“I didn’t realise that I’d meet and work with such diverse students from all sorts of disciplines. It’s incredible to be placed in a melting pot of arts, law, commerce and engineering students. I’ve made some excellent friends.”

He recently partook in the annual Science Revue, a theatrical performance of sharp-witted song parodies, dances and skits, with a twist.

“It was a great way to share my interest in music and hang out with some cool people.”

He enjoys the research opportunities that studying science at the University of Sydney has given him, especially his work on Alzheimer’s disease for the Talented Students Program (now the Dalyell Scholars Program). He also wants to go on a semester of exchange next year, to broaden his horizons and gain a global perspective.

“It’s meaningful to walk down  Eastern Avenue, flanked by buildings, knowing that you’re surrounded by a history of learning and that one day you will pass that knowledge on to the next generation,” he adds. “At least that’s the doctor I want to be.” 


Sahil Arora, in high school and now

Sahil Arora

Age 19, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws
(Scholarship: Wayne Lonergan Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarship, Sydney Scholars Award)

Looking back now, heading to University was a daunting thought. A new environment, new people and new friends. USYD made this transition so much easier for me. This year I have met so many new, talented and genuinely kind people. Whether it be outside a tutorial or just chilling in one of the many cafés, there is always a warm conversation to be had.

The academic opportunities offered at USYD are unparalleled. I have been lectured by a High Court Judge and mooted in front of two senior barristers! I’ve learnt about capital budgeting in the classroom, while networking with internationally renowned Investment Banks and Consulting Firms at University events. USYD offers some incredible opportunities, not only to prepare yourself for your professional career, but also to meet like-minded and amazing people – who will end up being your friends for life!


Louie Wu in high school

Louie Wu (Chung-Yen, Wu)

Age 22, from Taipei, Taiwan
Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology) 

After graduating from KCIS (Taiwan), I came to Australia to pursue my university degree. Although being an international high school, KCIS was unfortunately not recognised by most universities outside of the United States at that time. I had to then go through Taylor’s College before I could get my unconditional offer from the University of Sydney. 

The course I finally got offered and enrolled in is the Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology). This particular course did spark with numerous surprises that have completely changed my understanding of a health science degree with the versatility of the course. From the large amount of practical work, depth of academic content to interaction with some top-tier researchers that work in the university. All of which have included a broad spectrum of content.

Louie Wu now

To explain with the best example, it’d be the anatomy courses we took in our first year. In USYD we had the opportunity to work, not only observe, with human cadavers. It was a complete privilege to be able to work with these bodies that have been so kindly donated by people who had a love for science. We get to manipulate the numerous specimens that are provided to each group in every practical session, to pull on the tendons to see which finger the muscle is connected to, we followed the nerves to find its origin to the spinal cord and we looked at the different structures in an actual human brain. With all the contents involving human anatomy and physiology, it has sparked my interest and passion to work in the clinical practices while involving some research. I am also considering to step further and potentially apply for medical school after my first degree. 

Aside from university life in Sydney, I also got to continue playing the sport that I have been doing for a long time before arrival – canoe polo. As I committed further, beginning with the NSW state team, in 2015 I agreed and signed to become an import player for the AUS men’s team.


Victoria Hospodaryk in Year 12

Victoria Hospodaryk

Age 19, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of International and Global Studies/Bachelor of Laws

I chose to study a Bachelor of International and Global Studies/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney as I have a strong passion for both languages and foreign policy, and love the way this degree allows me to pursue all my interests. 

Victoria Hospodaryk now

From a young age, I’ve dreamt of being able to make a real difference in the world (as clichéd as it sounds), and with a focus on current international issues, diplomacy, and problem solving skills, I believe this degree can help me do just that. Since beginning this degree, I have definitely noticed some major changes between now and when I was a year 12 student. Meeting so many new people from a variety of backgrounds on a daily basis has been really insightful and made me a lot more open-minded, while the new experiences accompanying university life has definitely fueled my adventurous side. In all, I think I’m a lot more enthusiastic and culturally aware than I was in year 12, and I’m excited to continue building upon these university experiences. 


Amy Lo Monaco in Year 12 and now

Amy Lo Monaco

Age 19, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Oral Health

I always knew I wanted to have a career in healthcare and thought dentistry and oral health were unique options.

I’m not going to lie - I cried a bit when I received my offer. Probably because it was a long application process with the Personal Qualities Assessment Test and interviews along with the HSC, so it was a huge and exciting relief when I found out.

University is completely different to high school in the best possible way. You get to study what you love and are interested in with similar minded people and that makes the overall experience even more enjoyable and exciting. I am looking forward to gain more skills in this degree and pursue a career in this field.


Meena Eid in Year 12 and now

Meena Eid

Age 23, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Pharmacy

I’ve always been interested in healthcare and finding a way to give back to the community. In the early stages of high school, I looked up the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Sydney and knew it would be my goal. 

Uni has a lot more freedom than high school. My classmates are super friendly and we all get along really well. A lot of the time your lecturers and tutors are your friends too.

Oncology is my favourite unit in this degree. I hope to get involved in the oncology unit in a hospital or get involved in research looking into treatments for cancer in my career.

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