Student Life At QASMT
|What’s the IB like? Is it hard at QA? Do we receive loads of homework? How do I even pass the entrance exams? Questions like these are often what students ask applying for QA, and I can understand that because 3 years ago, I was asking the exact same questions. Hi! My name is Natasha Lawrie, a senior at QASMT this year. Let me begin with telling you how I first found the school and how I felt. Finding QASMT was like finding a needle in a haystack, it was just pure luck. I never really knew of its existence until September of 2014 when my mum came back from the Ekka and had heard about the school. So, I applied online, in a frantic upheaval of documents looking for the right ones. Then there were the exams, and the interview. Yes, it was scary, and intimidating, but if you think about it, ‘just be yourself’. The teachers and markers want to know what it is you can do, but most importantly, it is your potential as a student to become better, and do better is what is important. After the process, I made it through for the year of 2015 where I would start grade 10. I never realised it then, but that was the greatest decision I’ve ever made, thanks to the chance encounter my mum had with the school. QASMT has given me the confidence no other school has given me. Living in four different countries and attending more than eight schools around the world, I can assure you QASMT has been the best school for me, allowing me to shape my passions for science, service and volunteering like no other school has.
On the first day of school, I felt ready! This was all thanks to an engagement camp which happened in grade 9 for all incoming students into QASMT. It helped me meet the calibre of different people who had also been accepted into the school. What I recognised from the very start of my journey at QASMT is that everyone has a passion for school, and all desire to excel academically. I thought this was a unique characteristic of QASMT as everyone is thus able to collaborate and work together to achieve, instead of working against each other to achieve. I was so grateful that I was paired with so many other like-minded people who were funny, had their quirks and all loved doing what they do.
From the moment I started QA, I’ve found my confidence and self-belief to be whatever I strive to become. In my old school, I never really took opportunities and rather did work as a requirement, where I found myself getting bored and feeling unchallenged. This all changed at QASMT. The International Baccalaureate takes learning to a whole new level. There aren’t just six subjects you must take, there are also three inner core subjects which are Theory of Knowledge, CAS and Extended Essay. Immediately when we started learning about CAS, I fell in love with the concept. CAS literally gives us a license to go out and have fun! It obliges us to involve ourselves in a creative task, active sport or to be of service regularly throughout the IB. I took it on board in the first term of grade 10, volunteering at a Handball festival, volunteering at an Endeavour op shop as a sales assistant (which I kept doing for 6 months), scrapbooking at a council library, initiating a Clean Up Australia day at QA and going for 5km runs on a Saturday morning, and the list keeps going on! The service part of CAS really took me by heart, as my personality as a person has always been to help others. Positively embracing CAS, it has helped me engage in more external organisations, groups and committees. In grade 11, I applied to be part of the Queensland Youth Environment Council which endeavours to give youth a voice in seeking environmental awareness and pushing the changes for legislations regarding environmental concerns. After a meeting, I was then appointed Chair of the QYEC. It has been a great privilege for me to be able to lead a group for which my passion is evident, encompassing the aims of an environmentalist. Another opportunity I took was the ongoing role as a volunteer Rhythmic Gymnastics coach at Stretton’s PCYC Rhythmic gymnastics club. This role enables me to coach lower levels, 1-5, with their training and competition readiness. With all these opportunities, I thought, ‘where to next?’ So, I applied and achieved two service roles for my senior year in school, Service captain for Curie house and the President of QASMT’s Leo’s club. All these opportunities were so unique and special in their own ways!
The other aspect of school life was the academics. I take Biology, Physics and Economics at a high level and English, Maths at standard level and learn French Ab Initio. The best thing about the IB is that every subject will challenge you. The assignments, the course work, they all shape you to become knowledgeable, to be principle and to be inquirers. Also, academically I’ve been able to take opportunities in STEM which have brought me to other parts of the world! In grade 11, I attended the International Student Science Festival where I shared my research on Iridium satellites and earned myself some very awesome international friends and an award for the Best Presentation for Physics and Maths. In March of 2016, I was also able to meet Dr Sylvia Earle, a world renowned marine biologist and conservationist, and also Dr Karl, the really famous interdisciplinary scientist at the World Science Festival where I took part of the inaugural program of STEM Girl Power Camp.
Overall, my experiences as a student in QASMT are expansively big and I couldn’t possibly write them all down here. Therefore, I invite you to take the leap of faith and try these opportunities for yourself. I hope you are equipped with enough courage now and the IB doesn’t intimidate you, and the rigour of the program doesn’t back you down. I will say to you now, take a big risk and believe in yourself. Good luck!
|I first found out about QASMT from my big sister, Pascale, who graduated in 2012. During her years here, I noticed how much she matured and learnt so many essential life skills such as self-discipline and perseverance. I realised the benefits QASMT could offer to me too. Pascale is currently finishing a scholarship-funded Honours year researching autoimmune diseases in a cutting edge laboratory, and already preparing to continue into a PhD. Personally, I came to the academy because of the excellent IB programme they offer, as well as to meet enthusiastic, like-minded people who have a passion to learn. I’m not entirely sure what I want to be yet when I grow up, but I really enjoy Chemistry and Health Science at QASMT. Thus, I am considering Biomedical engineering as a career choice, where I can make a real difference in the lives of disabled people through designing new prosthetic limbs and artificial internal organs. I find the modern discoveries such as cochlear implants absolutely incredible and very fascinating! Furthermore, because the IB Program is internationally recognized, I can use my German citizenship to study at a German university; an opportunity I find really exciting!
QASMT is renowned for being very academically focussed, and this was one of my biggest worries about coming here. I have always been a balanced person: dedicated to my school work, but also a very keen sportsperson. I was awarded the overall sports award for girls in my final year of primary school, and continued into high school as a long distance runner and club rower. I love sport in general, and took advantage of the school sport teams at my previous high-school, participating in soccer, AFL, badminton, athletics and cross-country teams. Thus, I was unsure as to whether I would be able to continue these extra-curricular activities I love during the strenuous and challenging IB curriculum. After my first few terms at QASMT however, I learnt a couple of vital things. Firstly, I realised that my worries about the IB not accommodating for my interests outside of academia, were ill-founded. An integral, core part of the diploma is ‘CAS’ (Creativity, Action and Service), whereby records are made of our physical activity, creative projects and service in the community. This suited me very well, as the fun runs I love to take part in every year such as the Bridge to Brisbane, Mother’s Day Classic, Lake Manchester Trail, Twilight Fun Run and International Women’s Day Fun Run thereby all count towards my diploma; as well as rowing and the QASMT sport teams I am part of. Furthermore, QASMT’s wide range of musical ensembles has allowed me to continue playing cello in the orchestra.
In addition, although rowing in particular is inherently time-consuming what with the thrice-weekly early morning training sessions and weekend regattas, I learnt that exercising is absolutely vital as a stress relief mechanism for me. I recently participated in the Head of the River regatta at Coomera, the first regatta of the season and an essential benchmark from which coaches will place us into crew boats for the following competitive regattas. Unfortunately, the regatta was also planned for the weekend before exam block which made me indecisive as to whether to participate. In the end I went along and won all races I had been entered in (singles, double and quad) and had a fantastic day. I revised my psychology notes between races and before derigging boats at the end of the day, and found that I was so much more receptive to the information I was learning. Now in my third term of grade 11 at QASMT, I have learnt that by organizing myself and working hard in the time I do have, I am able to comfortably balance school, life and sport.