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Taylah's story - doing year 11 and 12 her way

There is no 'one size fits all' solution when it comes to education, navigating high school and beyond. Find out how one TAFE Queensland student did it her way.

By TAFE Queensland

Taylah’s story isn’t as unusual as we’d like: a high school student who has an unstable home environment, and more than enough to deal with before she can find the time to cope with the regular academic and social pressures of high school.

When we first met Taylah, she was in a low place – her home life was chaotic and her high school had told her it was looking unlikely that she was going to be in a position to graduate at the end of the year based on her grades and academic performance. Naturally, Taylah was fairly anxious about her future, with uncertainty all around her. But Taylah found a way through, all the way to university.

When Taylah first heard about studying at TAFE Queensland’s Senior College, she loved the idea of studying at a school where students are treated as adults, and can just get on with earning their high school certificate in an environment where social status and popularity are less important. Initially, the thought of getting there seemed insurmountable, but Taylah decided to take the plunge.

“Coming from Petrie on the north side of Brisbane, I thought I’d have to get a plane ticket to get all the way out to Alexandra Hills, but after a gruelling morning at home following the news I was unlikely to pass high school, I was at my gran’s place feeling fairly hopeless and I just decided there and then to do it.”

Taylah packed her bags and moved across town to support her decision to study at Alexandra Hills. This included learning to look after herself, navigate a new campus and find everything she needed to succeed. But the results were worth all the hard work she put in.

“TAFE was a chance for me to start again. At TAFE, we can just be ourselves and express who we are in a judgement-free environment. We get the support we need from staff to reach our goals and finally feel like an individual and someone who matters.”

Throughout the duration of her course, Taylah worked hard to complete her senior high school certificate, becoming Senior Captain in 2017 and even picking up the subject award for Business Studies. She acknowledges the help from her teachers and support staff assisted her in reaching her goals.

“I have never been happier and more proud to be a part of TAFE. In a way, it was the little differences that have put me in the best position possible. For example, the adult learning environment, calling the teachers by their first names and having your education be what you make it. Not mention that we were set up for success. Our teachers were honest angels and wanted to help if you were willing to put in the effort.”

Since graduating, Taylah is now attending studying a business degree at the University of Queensland. She looks forward to her career in the dynamic business world.

“For me, the biggest take-away is that it is okay to make mistakes. I’m glad that things happened the way they did, because I was able to reach out and make my own success after accepting failure. And in the process of doing this, I found out who I am.”

Find out more about how TAFE Queensland’s Senior College can help you do high school differently.