• Year 12 leavers Whiteny Rickett and Samaka Isaac share their success stories. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Waiting for your university offer to arrive in the mail can feel like forever, but for year 12 graduates around the country, that wait was over when the Universities Admission Centres made more than 40,000 University offers this week.
Hannah Hollis

20 Jan 2017 - 2:32 PM  UPDATED 20 Jan 2017 - 3:04 PM

18 year old Whitney Rickett was one of many school leavers eagerly awaiting the news.

“It was amazing to know that all the hard work had paid off and that I can finally move towards the career I've always wanted to be in,” she told NITV News.

For Rickett, year 12 was ‘very stressful’ keeping up with overlapping assignments and extracurricular activities.

“I played volley and also coached volleyball and I was working 7-10 hours a week” she said.

Rickett, who lives in South Australia, received an offer to study marine biology and aquaculture at Flinders University.

“Since I was 9 I knew I wanted to work with animals but I never really knew whether it would be with reptiles, domestic animals, native animals or marine animals. I picked this course because it’s something I want to learn more about and grow as a person,” she added.


18 year old Samaka Isaac got the good news he was waiting for in December.

The Cammeraygal man was one of the few who received early round offers. He was accepted into three universities: The Australian Catholic University, University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University.

When Isaac reflects on his time during his HSC, he admits it was a tough year juggling his studies and extensive extracurricular commitments but motivated him to keep ‘on top of the work load’.

“I found it stressful at time because of the extracurricular stuff I was doing. It was mainly sport, I did everything, rugby, rugby 7’s, basketball, AFL and ultimate Frisbee,” he told NITV News.

In fact, on the weekend leading up to 5 of his exams, Isaac played for the national men’s Indigenous Rugby 7’s team against Fiji.

The sportsman was offered a place studying a double degree of Psychology and Primary Education as he follows in his mother’s school teacher footsteps to one day help disadvantaged kids.

“I have a passion for social justice, I want to help kids who don’t have homes or who come from broken homes,” he added.

Isaac was ‘surprised’ with his University offers, and has chosen to study at Macquarie University. 

“I’m not the most academic kid, but I guess if you work hard it doesn’t really matter” he added.

Isaac admits he didn’t care too much for school, he’d ‘just put headphones in and shut off’ but one teacher struck a chord with him in year 9.

“I will never forget. It was the second week in and I couldn’t care less [about class] so [I] sat at the back corner and the teacher walked up behind me and slapped this poster on the wall. It was a Muhammad Ali poster. And it had a quote: 'If your mind can conceive it, and you heart can believe it, then you can achieve it'. It changed my life.”

In a few weeks, both Whitney Rickett and Samaka Isaac will start their courses at their respective universities and despite the difference in subjects they’re both excited for the new adventure.

"I think University will be hectic, but that’s also what year 12 has prepared us for: all the assignments, large essays... I know it’ll be hard, but as long as I study and put in the hard yards I will get back what I put in,” Rickett says.

"I think University will be fun. I’m hoping to stay on the campus. I’m hoping to just get it all done in four years straight. I also want to keep up my sport, so I wanna train really hard and study really hard. Pretty much just get myself ahead, or go as far as I can with my sport and do as well as I can in studies," Isaac says.

And, they have words of advice for those just beginning their HSC journey.

"Just start. Just start the assignment, just attend the class, just ask for help. You have so many resources around to help you. It may be tough, but it'll be worth it in the end," Rickett says.

Isaac agrees that perseverance is the road to success. 

"Stick with your goals. I didn’t think I would go to University at most points in year 12. But you’ve just got to stay hungry and work hard.  You’ll feel really good about yourself if you do work hard and you deserve what you get."