Sarah Mitchell always had her sights set on entering the police force once she finished school.
The Stawell Secondary College year 12 student has now changed the direction of her future, after what's been a turbulent year for students across Victoria.
With two bouts of remote learning and the pressure of exams building, Miss Mitchell has decided to put all her efforts into obtaining entry into a psychology course in Armidale, with keeping the police force as a long term goal.
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"For my whole life I have said I didn't want to go to university," she said.
"I had put all my effort and determination into getting into the police force. My plan was to graduate from year 12, apply for the police force and go to the academy.
"Halfway through this year my mental health struck a low and it sparked my interest in helping other people.
"I just kinda hit rock bottom - I think party because of Covid-19 and being locked up for so long."
Remote learning has proved difficult for the almost 18-year-old, with no internet access available to her at home.
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"I've kinda been left to my own devices some what," she said.
"We have internet but it's so shocking. At the beginning it wasn't too bad to keep up my motivation.
"As we got further through remote learning my motivation just left."
Miss Mitchell went into her second round of remote learning with some optimism which soon diminished.
"I thought because we had done it once I knew what I was expecting," she said.
"But it got worse and worse as the time went on. I think because as things get closer like exams and graduation everything becomes more stressful.
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"The realisation of needing to adult next year kicked in."
Miss Mitchell studies dancing for both VET and outside of school.
"My courses have been online and because of my internet connection I've been able to learn a lot more different things by going at it alone," she said.
"I've spent time throwing myself around in the paddock and have learnt some new skills.
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"It's frustrating not being able to access the online classes, especially for school as it's part of my VCE.
"If it was just for pleasure, it wouldn't be too bad. Because it's for school I can't just go home and let my skills diminish.
"I need to be able to walk into a classroom next term and be at the same standard as everyone else."
Miss Mitchell is also a member of the college band - something she said she felt she has missed the last year of performing.
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Miss Mitchell has applied to get into university through an early entry program which means there wouldn't be as much emphasis on her final VCE results.
"I won't know if I am accepted for that until about mid-November," she said.
"I'm in two minds about exams. Obviously I'm hoping I get accepted under the early entry which will really take the pressure off. I am going to study like I need the grades but if I can diminish that stress I will take it.
"The early entry program looks at things like my community and school involvement and a lot of other factors.
"It takes into account all the extra things I've done so the hard work along the way could work in my favour."
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