Rachel's tips for academic success
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 4, 1 June 2018, p24
Named 2017 Outstanding Academic Achiever at the Queensland Certificate of Education Achievement Awards, Rachel Hauenschild certainly knows how to succeed.
The Kenmore State High School student received the honour in recognition of her exceptional achievements and breadth of learning after earning outstanding results in six authority subjects, two university courses, a VET course and other recognised courses.
Here Rachel, who will now be studying at the University of Queensland and hopes to pursue a maths-related career, gives her insights on what it takes to produce a successful student.
How does it feel to be hailed as Queensland’s “Outstanding Academic Achiever”?
When the award was announced, it was a huge surprise, and I was extremely excited. What do you put your success down to? I have always been very self-motivated and driven to achieve the best possible results that I was capable of.
What are your thoughts on your school? Is it a place you enjoy spending time?
Being such a large school, Kenmore State High School afforded me many valuable opportunities. In junior secondary, I was fortunate to be involved in the German immersion program, which gave me a unique opportunity to learn another language and participate in an incredible eight-week exchange to Germany. In senior school, I accelerated two subjects (Maths B and German) which enabled me to complete two university subjects in year 12 – mathematics at UQ and chemistry at QUT. I also benefitted from many other wonderful opportunities to balance my academic studies. In particular, debating and music were significant throughout high school, as they challenged me and provided numerous enjoyable and memorable experiences.
How have your teachers impacted on your performance?
In year 11 and 12, I chose predominantly maths and science subjects, and a significant part of my learning was independent. In these subjects, I benefitted most from teachers who provided me with feedback and encouraged me to extend myself by studying university subjects and through involvement in other opportunities. In English however, I had to work a lot harder, because some styles of writing required did not come naturally to me. This was the subject where the encouragement, feedback and support of my senior English teacher was extremely important to my success.
Any words of advice for other students?
It’s important to choose subjects that interest you, because those are the ones that you will enjoy and be successful in. Perseverance is also critical. Even if something doesn’t come naturally to you, hard work and determination will go a long way and make a huge difference.
Any tips for teachers hoping to help their students follow your example?
I strongly believe that teachers should allow their students to be independent learners and give them flexibility and opportunities to extend themselves. Although some students thrive in a very structured environment, others prefer to work at their own pace, which allows people to explore topics in greater depth and gain a better understanding. Teachers should give their students the flexibility to do this.