As this year's HSC students nervously await their results - released on December 14, recent university graduate Joel McKay recalls a less anxious experience this time a few years ago.
He was one of many students who opted to apply for - and succeeded in securing early entry into tertiary studies. It took the edge off he said, knowing that the next few years at least, were a sure thing.
The 23-year-old from Sutherland recently wrapped up his studies at the University of Wollongong, graduating from the Faculty of Business and Law. He achieved First Class Honours in Law and Distinction in Commerce (Economics). On completion of his law degree units in 2022, he was recognised on the Dean's Merit List.
A former student of Kirrawee High School, Mr McKay was also also rewarded a high distinction for his Honours Research Project on corporate climate disclosure and greenwashing.
"My project looked at the reporting obligations of companies, and the existing governance they have tune into to disclose material risk," he said. "One of the main issues is that as climate change gets more recognition, there is a growing consensus that there is a duty to report what those risks are. I covered all aspects of business operations - beyond looking at typical financial risk. Having worked in financial services, it became clear that it was the main thing the industry was looking at."
Mr McKay secured a graduate role with a global law firm in Sydney's CBD, and will begin in February. He also hopes to make up for lost travel time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and plans on visiting South East Asia. "There was added flexibility and resilience during that time," he said.
His advice for this year's students awaiting their HSC results is to "be kind to themselves". "There are huge employment prospects with a degree but the true value is that it teaches you different ways of thinking," he said. "Students should be proud in the effort they have applied in the past year and to take comfort knowing that there are plenty of options and pathways available."
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