Zeynep Tahmazoglus inspiring VCE experience at Kangan

Former Kangan Institute student, Zeynep Tahmazoglu, shares an inspiring story about how her transition to VCE at TAFE changed her perspective on learning.

Now undertaking the Bachelor of Management at Deakin University and majoring in journalism, the Camberwell resident has an exciting outlook for the future. Below is an excert from Zeynep:

When I was younger, I loved school more than anything in the world. However, as I got older I had many bad experiences with teachers and began to dislike them and school, especially because I felt as though they treated students like they were ignorant. I have a memory from about the 2nd or 3rd grade; I had asked my teacher what "sceptic" meant and she laughed at me in front of the whole class and told me there was no such word and that I had made it up!

So after a rough few years in high school, I decided to move to Melbourne from Sydney and live with my mum in the hopes that maybe things would change with my attitude towards school. When I got here, I lazed about for a while. I had always wanted to go to university. 

I knew I could do it and that I had to do it not just for myself, but for my brother and sister as well. I had to become the independent woman I wanted to be and start moving away from my issues and set up a life for myself. After looking at a few schools around the area and not being happy with them or even the thought of returning to school, I heard about the option to undertake my VCE at TAFE from a neighbour.

I thought I'd check it out; after all, I had nothing to lose. I remember my first day very clearly and although this may sound cheesy, it was the day I realised that I wanted to study at TAFE. Before I continue, I'd like to mention that at this point in my life I thought I was going to become a psychologist.

This wasn't because I knew what they did or that I found the sector interesting, but because it was what I was told I should become by everyone else, as it was going to make me rich and I was going to be smart. And that was exactly what I wanted! So I arrived at the meeting room that was set up for open day and filled out my forms; I was very impressed with the subjects offered and found myself becoming excited about pursuing my education again - something that hadn't happened in a long time. I waited for the teachers and finally got called up to see Jim French. He was nice through it all.

He looked through my papers and then looked up and asked me what I wanted to be when I left school. Without hesitation, I said 'a psychologist' followed by a proud smile (whilst thinking that this guy's going to think I'm smart now).

He then asked 'why?' and I was taken aback. 'Why is this guy asking me why I want to be what I want to be?' I thought to myself. I had no reply for him. After I left, I kept thinking to myself that this guy was so weird. Who asks someone why they want to be something? Since no one had ever taken the time and asked me before, it came as a shock. I completed Year 11 at Kangan Institute and loved it - I was treated like an adult and my education was my responsibility. Sure, I could avoid doing my work like many others did, but it wasn't going to get me anywhere.

The excitement of being able to do things on my own because I wanted to was amazing and constantly reminded me of why I loved learning. When the time came for Year 12, I sat with Jim again. I had grown quite fond of him by this point as he'd become a friend to me. He suggested that I do year 12 over two years. I knew that he was a great teacher, amazing at his job, was always there for me and very understanding.

I didn't even think twice and agreed to his suggestion. It worked out perfectly and I was so happy that I completed my Year 12 over two years. I didn't do as well as I wanted in one of my subjects and got to repeat it the next year to pass. Without the flexibility that Kangan Institute offered, I wouldn't have been able to do this. During year 12 I dealt with a lot of hard issues with my family - I was looking after my disabled younger brother throughout all of Year 12 while studying at the same time.

Jim and Mark were extremely supportive during that time. It's great to know that they are still teaching at Kangan Institute and supporting people who need it most. After completing my exams, I began eagerly awaiting December 13th. I was dying to know what my ATAR was and if I was going to be able to go to university and do what I wanted. My ATAR was 73.05 - I was ecstatic!

I am currently doing a Bachelor of Management at Deakin University and majoring in journalism. It was a tough three years, but with the great support system at Kangan Institute and the wonderful teachers, I am now on my way to the life I always wanted for myself.

I can definitely say that this wouldn't have happened if I had attended my VCE schooling anywhere else. Kangan Institute helped me get my life on track.

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