No two people take the same path after finishing school.
But the paths Cade Dodson, 18, and all Victoria's Year 12s will take in 2020, will walk after they finish their final assessments will be equally unusual thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Dodson, a Horsham College Vice-Captain, will have his first taste of this new and unexpected university life on Saturday when he attends Monash University's 2020 Open Day from his house.
"Last year, when planning (to attend) open days, a big part of it was going to be going down to Melbourne and feeling out the environment of the universities," he said.
"Not being able to do that makes it a bit tricker to decide on universities, not just the course. If I start university next year and can't go down and live on campus, I feel that will subtract from the experience.
"Growing up in a country town, you hear about going down to university by yourself, and starting to step out into the world. Not having that experience in my first year I feel will be a bit strange.
With a study load of English, chemistry, physics and specialist mathematics, and maths methods already under his belt, Mr Dodson is hoping to enrol in a science degree.
"I was thinking of taking a gap year and maybe travelling a little bit, but I don't think that's going to happen," he said.
Mr Dodson has been completing his studies from home since July 12, the second round of remote learning prompted by the pandemic in 2020.
He said he hoped he could return to the classroom if he went to university in 2021.
"I study well going to school, but once all this lockdown stuff started happening, the school and homework just blur together, and it's hard to find that motivation to keep going," he said.
"We are definitely not enjoying (remote learning) for the most part, and as we get closer to exams, it's not ideal, because we're not able to be there with our teachers and other students.
"Another disadvantage is class discussions - where we talk amongst one another and ask questions - are hard to do online. I think that is definitely going to impact our ability to make the most of our classes.
"If I were to do an online uni course, it would definitely be a challenge: I really don't want to do that.
"We just have to take everything in our stride."
Options for unsure graduates
At its online careers week this week, Mildura-based educator SuniTAFE launched a new program called Bridge the Gap.
The program is aimed at high-school-leavers looking for a job, or wanting to stay close to home while taking a pathway into university. It will also provide career guidance and support to those who are uncertain about what they want to do next.
"During the program, students will gain certifications, develop a CV, learn employability and life skills," a spokesperson said.
She said the course was available to Horsham students, depending on what course they wanted to consider for the program and the delivery method.
"Face to face there may be a requirement to attend the Swan Hill campus, where necessary," she said.
Mr Dodson said courses like these could help some student. "Anything to help us figure out what we want to do and where to go next would definitely be useful," he said.
At Federation University, Wimmera campus head Associate Professor Geoff Lord said Federation TAFE intended to offer ten post-secondary courses in Horsham in 2021:
- General Education for Adults
- Automotive (Apprentices)
- Early Childhood Education and Care
- Individual Support (Health)
- Community Services
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Nursing (Division 2)
- Electrotechnology (Career Start)
- Electrotechnology (Apprentices)
The institution's Certificate I in Transition Education seeks to open up post-school educational options for students with special learning needs. There are also Diploma of University Studies and Foundation Access Studies courses to prepare students for a degree.
Virtual Open Days still to come
- Monash University: Saturday August 29 - Monday August 31
- Australian Catholic University: August 29, September 12
- Melbourne University: September 5-6
- Longerenong College: September 13
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to the Wimmera Mail-Times, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling the Wimmera's story. We appreciate your support of local journalism.