After missing out on her chosen degree by a frustrating few marks, Javiera Zorrilla was unsure what to do next. A chance discovery when she was decluttering her desk helped her find her way.
A born communicator, with a passion for travel and photography, her heart was set on studying a Bachelor of Media Arts and Production degree at UTS. It was a crushing blow to learn she had just missed out on the mark needed for direct entry.
"It felt like my whole world fell apart, you know?” she says. Although she was a good student, she had faced some challenges during her high school years. Javiera had grown up in Chile, and moved to Sydney to complete her final years of high school when her father won a scholarship to study in Australia. “It was a big change,” she says, “It’s very different here from the way South American schools work, and I had to learn English in a very intensive way. Then during my HSC year, one of my close family members, who was living with us, passed away. It was a very hard thing to go through during one of the most important years of my high school life."
Seeing the Media Arts and Production facilities at a UTS Open Day cemented her determination to find a way into that degree. “It was on my mind when I went home. I remember opening a pencil case I hadn’t opened in a little bit, and I found these highlighters and pens and other freebies from UTS Insearch. They’d given them to me at an expo back when I was in Year 11, or maybe early Year 12. I found them, and I thought, ‘Hold on. Wait a minute. What’s this?’ And I went to the website and I started researching."
That’s when Javiera realised she’d found her pathway. “I realised there was a way for me to get to the place I wanted to be. It gave me peace of mind."
Having completed a Diploma of Communications at UTS Insearch, majoring in Digital and Social Media, Javiera is now in the final stages of the UTS degree she wanted so badly.
She values the time she spent at UTS Insearch. “The best thing was the community,” she says. “I made many, many friends during my classes, and after school we had events like movie nights and outings, or maybe a trip out of town. There was so much going on that I never felt alone and I built a friendship group that moved with me to UTS. So, when I moved to UTS after my diploma, it wasn’t a big change."
Looking back on her experience, Javiera has advice for anyone who may have missed out on a place in their chosen course. “First of all,” she says, “don’t freak out. And never think you’re not worth it, or you’re not enough, or you don’t deserve to be at university or anything like that. There’s always a way. If you really want something, you can always achieve it."
Javiera now participates in a special program called SPROUTS (Student Promotional Representative of UTS), which gives her an opportunity to help other students find their way. She attends open days and expos and sometimes visits schools to talk about UTS Insearch and answer students’ questions.
Javiera says, "Now I can give them the same feeling I got when I discovered UTS Insearch. I can remind them there is more to life – that you can look at yourself in different ways and find your pathway. You can get into the degree you want without feeling bad about yourself. ‘I did it,’ I tell them, ‘and so can you."