VCE: Finding Another Way

12th December 2018

As the first in her family to go to University and with the long-held dream of studying Medicine, Ashlee Nichol was a focused student who knew exactly what was needed in the VCE years to fulfil her dream of delivering top quality health care to rural Australians.

When her ATAR results fell short of gaining her direct entry into a University course, she had to find another way, and she did.

“I was really disappointed with my VCE results and it’s quite a blow when you receive a score that redefines the future that you had envisaged.

“Once I had picked myself up, I set about finding out how it might be possible to put the pieces back together and to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a doctor,” Ashlee said.

Pictured: Ashley Nichol (2015) during a GP medical placement in Toowoomba this year.

Ashlee Nichol graduated from Girton Grammar School in 2015. Having spent much of her childhood in and out of the medical system with bone issues, she soon recognised what was required to make the patient experience a good one, fueling her interest in Medicine. In her short lifetime, Ashlee has broken 18 bones and in Year 12 nursed an injured and braced wrist with severe tendon damage, which made writing painful and difficult.

“After speaking with some teachers and friends, I decided to do two things after my disappointing results.

“I started applying for courses that took a small number of applicants based mostly on interview and I started applying for every scholarship that I could find to support me in my studies. I was also prepared to study anywhere in the country.

“I remember sitting in a café the day before my interview at Adelaide University with a friend firing all manner of possible interview questions at me so I would be as prepared as possible.

“The Scholarship applications also helped prepare my thinking for the interview to get into Medicine at Adelaide University and in the end, I was accepted based on my interview performance and I also secured a residential scholarship at the University.

“My view now is that VCE results are very important, but so too are soft skills, like public speaking, analytical thinking, and emotional intelligence, along with the resilience to pick yourself up after disappointment.

“These are the skills, in the end, that got me into a Medicine degree and I am really grateful that these are things that were valued at Girton and taught explicitly,” Ashlee said.

Ashlee has now completed her second year of Medicine at Adelaide University and has secured another Scholarship to complete Medical rounds at a regional GP practice in Queensland to gain additional experience.

“I love Medicine as much as I thought I might and am already starting to fulfil my desire to bring excellent medical services to rural areas,” she said.