The Rowe family’s journey to La Trobe

Navigating Year 12 and the next steps can be a rollercoaster of emotions for students, but it also can be a tumultuous journey for parents.  The Rowe family are a La Trobe family.  Abby is on a mission to become a rural doctor, studying our Biomedical Science (Medical) degree.  While Liz is looking to inspire the next generation and become a teacher.  Along with the support of their Dad Ricky, hear their advice on managing the transition from school to uni.

COVID-19 has meant as a parent, Ricky has had the opportunity to sit back and watch his daughters experience uni together, in the home.  Usually Abby would be in Bendigo studying her course, but has been home during the online study period.

“It has been awesome, as I think they have enjoyed the time together. It has been really good for Liz in her first year, as she has Abz to answer any questions.  I think because La Trobe made the home study call so early, the kids were able to adapt quicker.

Ricky says it’s really important for parents to be involved when supporting their kids during the transition to uni.

“I’d encourage parents to try and network with parents that have been through the uni system, especially in the last two years. Locally parents and students should book in for an appointment and talk to staff, like Ash, at the Mildura Campus, as early as Year 10.  We brought Liz in halfway through year 10, she’s had her pathway planned since then.”

Abby agrees that reaching out and having open communication between parents and kids is really important.

“The whole process can be overwhelming for Year 12s. It is probably most important for the parent and student to be on the same page, in regard to where and what studies they’re interested in.  I believe the best state of mind to have is to support your child through their studies and keep an open mind on the end decisions, as everything does work out in the end.”

Liz agrees and adds, “Apply for everything!  Even if you think you might not get it, there is always a chance.  I know how much of a stressful period this is.  But remember, if you don’t get the ATAR you wanted, there are always pathways to help get you there.”

The Rowe family have experienced both situations for their daughters, one staying locally to study and one going away.  Liz says one of her favourite things about her course and campus, is the community feel it has.

“The best part about my course is that I am able to do it at home and already know so many people in my classes - as they are kids I grew up with!  This is so beneficial when completing group assessments and when you’re struggling with something.  Studying locally you get so many opportunities and there are nice, small class sizes.  You are able to make strong connections with peers and teachers, along with saving money by living at home!”

Abby loved growing up in Mildura and will return as a doctor when she has completed her studies.

“La Trobe's Bendigo campus was a good fit for me as the regional town resembled my own.   I found my university transition smoother, being surrounded by an environment and people similar to my hometown.  But also different enough for me to grow. There is a lot of overwhelming parameters when starting university.  I found the size and atmosphere of the Bendigo campus very nurturing, yet exciting.”

Ricky’s final bit of advice to parents?

“I think you have to understand that kids are different. Liz is a home body and we feel extremely lucky that she is able to study education in her hometown. She has been able to link up with students that she has known through sport or social networks.  The Bendigo experience for Abz has been great, to watch her meet new people and I think the uni really encourages this.

“Uni staff have worked with the kids the whole way. I don’t think people understand the value of what La Trobe Mildura brings to our area.  We have had a very positive experience with both campuses, in Mildura and Bendigo and we recommend La Trobe to anyone that wants to listen.”

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