As the flood of fresh faced students commence their first year of university, we sit down with graduate Marcus Dadd to discuss how he tackled the HSC and how his early days of therapy at The Shepherd Centre provided him with the tools to pursue his dream career.
The Shepherd Centre: Congratulations for finishing the HSC! What was your favourite subject throughout years 11 and 12, and why?
Marcus Dadd: Thank you for the congratulations, I am a little relieved. My favourite subject in year 12 was Extension 2 English. I really enjoyed composing a completely original major work that totalled six thousand words. This subject allowed me to express my passion and interest in the Australian environment and the traditional way of life of Aboriginal people. The creation of this extended composition (with dozens of edits) filled me with a profound sense of accomplishment and allowed me to express what I am capable of achieving thanks to the support and encouragement of The Shepherd Centre and my school.
Describe the biggest challenge of your last year of high school. What was it and how did you tackle it?
Hearing (or rather the lack of) was the biggest challenge faced at school. In noisy classrooms with lots of background noise going on around me due to chatting students I sometimes missed instructions or what others were saying. To reduce the likelihood of missing important information such as homework or assessment deadlines I got quite comfortable with asking my teachers further clarification on what they said at the end of class. This strategy prevented me from missing important information.
Now you’re on the other side of that challenge, how do you feel?
I absolutely loved school and all the opportunities it gave me but personally I wasn’t that sad when it came to graduation because I was excited by the prospect of furthering my education at university. The Shepherd Centre and my high school played a pivotal role in ensuring that I reached my potential and did not treat me any differently from other students. As a result, although I may have faced more challenges than the regular students and achieved quite a high ATAR, I don’t consider my achievement any greater than that of other students without challenges. This is a great feeling to have I think because it really showcases the removal of barriers between the hearing and deaf communities as today both communities set the exact same goals and have the same likelihood of achieving them.
What advice, if any, would you give to other teenagers with hearing loss about tackling the HSC?
For those heading into the HSC, my first piece of advice is that consistent effort and work can reward you with high marks regardless of your natural ability. Make sure you concentrate in class and do all the homework your teachers set you. My second piece of advice is make sure you use your teachers and other support staff such as librarians. They are there to help and want to see you reach your potential. One final thing, the HSC may seem an insurmountable climb of endless study and sleepless nights, it really isn’t and I urge you to embrace and enjoy your final year because if you don’t then you are missing what most of school has to offer.
Tell us about the degree you’ve chosen, what interested you about it and what you hope to do with it once you finish.
I am about to start my four year undergraduate degree at The Australian National University (ANU) down in Canberra. I will be doing a Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability Advanced (Honours) which I’m really excited about because of my passion of the Australian environment and how we can best implement land management across large swathes of land to best preserve threatened species of which Australia has a disproportionately high number.
You have an Instagram page dedicated to wildlife photography? When did you start it and how did it come about?
My Instagram page “Conserversity” focuses on Australian wildlife, species conservation and land management. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge of the Australian environment and showcasing some of the pictures I have taken whilst out in the field in various wild adventures across Australia. Being able to share and showcase details and aspects of Australia’s environment that most people are unaware of is immensely satisfying. I really love birdwatching and (ironically) the sounds they make.
Now you’re almost an adult and about to live away from home. Reflecting on your schooling and childhood, what skills did The Shepherd Centre provide you with that made a difference to your everyday life?
Through its early intervention program the Shepherd Centre laid a solid foundation for my vocabulary and speech so that I’m now able to participate in social situations and have normal interactions and conversations with people. I am able to articulate my thoughts, knowledge and opinions on a whole range of topics, particularly conservation. More generally I’m incredibly grateful to The Shepherd Centre for making me a better person as someone who can contribute to society without any sense of being alienated from others who live without hearing impairment. In fact, unless I tell people they are unaware that I’m profoundly deaf and wear cochlear implants, particularly now whilst I’m sporting a decently sized afro!
The Shepherd Centre wish Marcus all the best in his studies.
You can view Marcus’ Instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/conserversity/
To find out more about our programs for children with hearing loss visit – How We Help
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