Louisa Bowman came to North Lake Senior Campus with an impressive CV – TAFE qualifications in business, two degrees from Curtin University and various jobs including working full-time at the uni. However she wasn’t applying for a job at North Lake, she was enrolling as a Year 12 student.
It was a “restless feeling” that brought Louisa back to school. She left high school midway through Year 11 in 2000 and forged an alternative educational journey. “I went to TAFE to study business and got a job as an accounts clerk,” she told NLSC News. Her next step was to gain university entrance by sitting the Special Tertiary Admission Test (STAT). She gained an Accounting and Taxation degree at Curtin University and after time in the workforce returned to complete a Marketing degree.
“I always felt like my education was, in a way, unresolved, because I didn’t graduate high school. I kind of snuck into uni by the back door – which is totally valid – but I just had this box in my head that needed to be ticked,” Louisa said.
“The pandemic brought a lot of things to a head and world became so small. Most of us have a bucket list to go here, there and everywhere and do all these amazing things. Then suddenly you can’t travel.”
However there was an item on Louisa’s bucket list that could be ticked off. “The thing I was upset about was that I didn’t finish Year 12.” She found out about North Lake and enrolled.
Louisa decided to take a different approach to high school this time around. “I remember in English that I didn’t really pay as much attention as I should have. So I thought this time I’m going to listen. Read the books. Do the homework. Give it my damn best.”
The changed approach led to a richer experience: “The way my horizons expanded by learning art language. The borders are closed but I felt like my world got bigger,” Louisa said, “If I could give the kids today some advice it would be pay attention. You’ve got knowledgable people standing in front of you providing some wisdom. It doesn’t cost any more. Just listen. The education system is trying to make you an educated person, a socially conscious person and that’s good thing.”
Louisa hopes her experience can show others that it is possible to come back to school and that simply learning new things is a legitimate goal.
“Education is the silver bullet for so many things, we should all be life-long learners. I keep getting asked the question, what are you going to do next? And to be honest I don’t know, there’s so much of the world to explore. It could be anything. So many things to learn and so many ways to develop and challenge yourself. Life is interesting.”