NYSF seems like just a ‘science camp’ at the time but has been crucial across my journey
The ultimate goal of the NYSF Year 12 Program is to promote the vast array of STEM fields available to young Australians. However, as NYSF 2017 Alumna Jasmine Elliott realised in the years after the program, it also provides life-experiences, personal growth opportunities that prove to be just as valuable.
"My NYSF journey began with a 36-hour trip from rural Queensland to Canberra and is continuing to this day. To be honest, this ‘science camp’ was not what I was expecting when I filled in my application.
I was so confused about how much time I wasn’t doing medicine or health science with my interest group. I was so confused as to why I was running through the mall assembling costumes and going to the pool. This wasn’t what I’d heard from my dad who’d attended 25 years beforehand or ‘what the brochure said’!
So no, this science camp wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I practiced my selection day speech in the mirror at home. But it was what I needed.
Because when you’re shouting chants, when you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and meeting new people, and when you’re presenting a speech about making snails faster, you’re not doing “science”, but you ARE growing as a future scientist, no matter which field you pursue.
I hopped on the train in Gladstone wanting to study medicine and disembarked feeling the same way. But the two weeks between were formative in understanding that my keenness on medicine and STEM doesn’t exist exclusively from my passion for politics, philosophy, and advocacy.
Right now, I’m in my third year of medicine at Monash, but I’m also exploring my passion for ethics and justice in a Diploma of Liberal Arts. I’m on placement in rural Victoria, but I’m also an advocate for rural health, meeting stakeholders and writing policy through my involvement in the Australian Medical Students’ Association. I might be learning about the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease, but I’m also learning more about myself and other young people as an eheadspace Peer Support Moderator and Consumer’s Health Forum Young Leader.
NYSF seems like just a ‘science camp’ at the time but has been crucial across my journey. Crucial when I felt like I’d be lonely moving 2000km to uni but spotting fellow NYSFers around campus. Crucial in those moments of imposter syndrome, reminding myself of how I’d overcome it in January 2017. Crucial in learning to embrace all aspects of my passion, just as I’d embraced dancing and shouting about science as a 16-year-old.
If you’re yet to begin your NYSF journey, I encourage you to fully jump on that train (literally or figuratively!), to embrace the craziness and step outside of your comfort zone. Then, continue applying this mentality to all the opportunities, ‘sciencey,’ or otherwise. I used to shake my head at including the ‘A’ in STEAM, dubious as to whether there was any point in the acronym at all. My experience is that you don’t have to fit your passions into a box to explore them because you never know all the weird and wonderful ways they’ll weave together!"