'The advice I would give to a year 11 and 12 students is not to think that VCE is the end of a journey.'
Ethan didn’t listen too well as a teenager. In fact, halfway through Year 11, everyone agreed that he should leave school and pursue another path.
‘The general consensus was to “go get an apprenticeship”, but I was dead-set on pushing myself as far as I could.’
Ethan enrolled in an advanced diploma in mechanical engineering at Swinburne and began studying in a field that he would eventually see as an amazing career opportunity. After completion, and making the big move into a bachelor degree in product design engineering, Ethan worried he might have made a mistake.
‘I thought to myself, what have I done? This is such a good opportunity but it’s not quite what I want to do.’
Not the kind to accept his fate, Ethan spoke to course advisers. He then switched to an honours degree in industrial design. From there, everything began to change.
‘I love the projects we’ve been given and my morale and enthusiasm has gone through the roof.’
Ethan went to California at Stanford University as part of Stanford’s partnership with the Swinburne Design Factory. Ethan joined students from around the world to collaborate on real-world design challenges as sponsored by an industry partner.
He puts his success down to his habit of not listening when people told him it was the end of the road. Now, having returned from California, he has a message for school leavers:
‘The advice I would give to Year 11 and 12 students is not to think that VCE is the end of a journey. There’s a massive perception that if you don’t get great marks in VCE, your ability to go into university is zero. But there are so many pathways and if you’ve got the dedication there is really nothing that can stop you.’
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