OP Milli Thornton who left the College in 2018 has spent her gap year as a Teaching Assistant at fellow MSC school Downlands College in Australia, she takes up the story here..
Moving to the other side of the world to a town I knew nothing about for a job I have no experience in… was the most daunting thing I’ve done in my life to date. But after an incredible ten months, it's been the most rewarding.
Working in a boarding house with teenage girls has been an eye-opening experience, was I like that at age 14? (most likely). Bringing back very fond memories of my time at Princethorpe, as the similarities between Princethorpe and Downlands College are endless. Both schools teaching the kids that life is not just about your academic grades but making you a better, well rounded person. Which really becomes evident when speaking to the grade 12 (Australia’s final school year), and how what they want to gain from their last year of school is very similar to what my friends and I desired from our last year at Princethorpe.
Although I adore the job I have in the boarding school, is that best part of my gap year? That’s got to be a no, the best part is… travelling Australia.
What a stunning country I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around. The two-month summer/Christmas holiday being the highlight. Starting down in Melbourne I travelled by plane, bus and train all up the East Coast ending up on a weekend trip driving around Fraser Island’s sand dunes and camping with wild dingos just metres away. Two months I will never forget. Although a warm Christmas… I’m not too sure about that!
A definite highlight for me was my visit to the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. As someone who talks a lot, I am rarely left speechless, but the Blue Mountains definitely had that impact on me. Just mountain upon mountain surrounded by Blue Gum Trees for as far as the eye can see. It was truly mesmerising, watching the sun set behind the mountains will be a sight I’ll never forget.
Australia has so much to offer with what to do and see, at no point this year have I been bored or looking for something to do. With Brisbane just two hours away, I’ve often found myself on weekend trips to the city. This year has been filled with countless memories I will treasure for the rest of my life, from the things I’ve seen to the people that have come into my life for a weekend, a month or the year, they have all left a mark on me.
Gap years are incredible things, and to quote the cliché ‘on your gap year you find yourself’, you really do. Over this year I’ve become more certain in the person I am and the person I want to grow to be. I’ve become more independent and self-sufficient but also have a greater appreciation for my family and everything they have done and continue to do for me. I feel incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to live in Toowoomba and work at Downlands College for the year and have learnt things I would never have if I was sat at home.
I whole heartedly recommend anyone and everyone to throw themselves out of their comfort zone, go and travel and experience a world so different to ours at home.