When I was doing my grade 7, 2-3 years back, my piano teacher adviced me to start teaching kids so that if i wanted to teach piano as my career in the future (and that was what I thought I would do) I would have a head start, and also have experience, because teaching is really all about experience. So I took her advice after discussing with Dad and Mum, and started teaching. She recommended the first few students to me, and then after that, I had another 2 kids from word of mouth, and then I started teaching another 2 kids from my church. I was nervous when I first started because even though I helped with my brothers, they were my brothers, and I was as comfortable with them as with myself! :) Then, one by one the kids started dropping out until I was left with the 2 kids from church. This was about 1 and a half years ago. I won't say I wasn't discouraged, but I guess I was also rather relieved to have a bit more time for myself! :) Guess it works both ways... :D At that time, you must understand I was seriously considering to be a music teacher- study music in uni. I really loved it. I also liked performing and they pay for a music teacher is really high in Australia. I could charge $30 an hour as a student! And my teacher was earning $50 an hour!! (now $55) So I was totally ready to get into uni to study music, or even just finish learning my diplomas with my teacher and then teach privately.
But God had different plans. :D
In dec 2005, one of my friends from church asked me what I wanted to study. I replied I didn't know. Then he asked me what I liked doing. So I jokingly replied arguing because my Dad was there beside me and I used to argue a lot with him. :) When my friend heard that, he exclaimed "Then you should do law!!" Law?! Arguing is one thing- but I do that in private and not in front of people, and certainly not in front of important people!! Besides, to get into law, you needed a really, really high TEE (tertiary entrance examinations) score to get in. It was 97.5% at that time. I think it's raised to 98% now because of the competition.
So that passing comment sparked a... a pique i think, and then it later grew into interest. When I toyed around with the idea of doing law, I think God started to open my eyes to notice a lot more going on in the world than just me and my circumstances... I saw a lot of injustice going on and a lot of corruption too. (and just as a side note, I see it even worse now that I'm in uni) So i prayed about the idea, and talked to my parents.
My Dad was fired up about doing law. In fact, when I went to him, I sort of gave him all the good sides to doing law to make it sound a bit more "okay" because I didn't know what his response would be... whoa. I had to put in the damper somewhere, so by the time i was done, I had started throwing in stuff like why i didn't think i was suited for studying law: mainly that I wasn't good at public speaking. In fact, I would often freeze and my mind would go blank when i have to speak in front of people without preparing... and here i am wanted to do law... of all things!
Mum on the other hand, didn't think it was a good idea for me to study law. Well there you go. Both parents of contrary opinions. She thought i should stick to studying piano and later teach it because not only did it give a good income, but also the flexible hours it allowed would be good if and when I have a family in the future. Those where her reasonings, and I agreed with her because it was sound! But for some reason, doing law just wouldn't leave my head...
So aside from choosing what to do, I think I should switch to the problem of GETTING in on the course i wanted to do! The usual students wanting to enter uni in WA or any other state, would take the TEE or it's equivalent in others states (they are called different names) Unfortunately, there i was disadvantaged because TEE was a combination of the marks from the past two years of high school combined with the scores of the tests (5 subjects!) that one chose. Then, the scores were scaled. The high school scores were a total of 50% of the TEE marks! So obviously because i was homeschooled, that wasn't a viable option at all.
But I ended up taking the SAT. You probably know all about that, staying in the US. I took that in nov of 2005, and my results came back as average. I scored best on reading comprehension. I was really disappointed with my math and writing scores...So I think I got about 75-80% I can't remember now...
After I did the SAT, i realized that the University of Western Australia- the only 'good' uni that teaches music in Perth didn't recognise the SAT! But other universities in Australia did! Better ones, i might add... So that lead me to applying to interstate universities... I applied to Monash U and Melbourne U in Melbourne, UNSW and the Sydney conservatorium in Sydney, Australia National Univeristy in Canberra and of course the two better unis in my own hometown Perth. I applied in both UWA and Murdoch U.
Now back to what I decided to do. Unable to make a decision, and totally incapable of predicting the outcome, I did what I had been taught to do: leave it all to God. And that's precisely what I did. I prayed that God would open the doors He wanted me to go through, and shut the doors He didn't want me going through! Couldn't get any clearer. :D
So I just went ahead and applied. My first choice in WA was to do a combined degree of law and music in UWA, then music alone in UWA, and then Law in Murdoch (Murdoch didn't offer music, and I put that in as a last resort). Basically, out of the 3 states I applied in, my first option was always the uni that could offer me both law and music as a combined degree. and then it'd be music next, i think, and then lastly law. I actually applied for unis in 4 different states, but since canberra was such a tiny state with only 1 uni (i think) in it, they put it under the NSW state. In that state, Sydney U was my first choice followed by UNSW and then ANU. Even though ANU was supposedly the most prestigious uni in Australia, i wasn't very keen on studying there because it was so far away from everyone I know! At least in Sydney i had 2 aunties and their families living there.
Okay... so now the problem of applying was over, i had to manage the music auditions! One of the pre-requisites of entering any music course is to pass a music audition done by the uni, as well as a theory test. At this time, i really began to smack myself over the number of unis I applied!!! Not only did I have to work on the pieces, but I also had to arrange a suitable audition timing for the unis outside perth! And most of them were around the same time too... So I had to phone each individual uni up, and wait yonks before i got to the right department to be told that they were closed for lunch. GRRRR...
(By this time, I had finished my Grade 8 exam. I finished it in May 06, and stopped piano lessons then. So when I wanted to audition, I had to find a teacher to help me. I decided to go to another teacher whom I used to go to for masterclasses. She also lived nearby. About 15mins away. When I started lessons with Mrs Symons, I had only got about 3 months (12 weeks of lessons to work on my pieces). Of all the unis, Sydney conservatorium was the most demanding. They wanted a prelude and fugue, an etude by chopin, and another 3 pieces from different periods!! that's 5 huge pieces! AND THEY WANTED SCALES TOO!!!
So I learnt the 5 pieces they wanted, and was all set for the rest of the unis because they only wanted 2 or 3 at the most... I finally got all the audition dates set, and we set off for Adelaide on a train and then we'd drive to Melbourne and then sydney and then canberra from there.
The very first audition i did was at UWA before I left for Adelaide. It went well. I then did it at Melbourne, Monash, Sydney U, UNSW, and finally at ANU. Then I just enjoyed the rest of my holidays. :D
Later on, in January, I got letters from UWA, Melbourne, Monash, UNSW, and ANU that I passed the auditions. the Sydney Conservatorium didn't reply! But I knew I wouldn't get in anyway, because I'd stuffed up so badly at the audition that I came out of the hall and started to cry... :P It was really humiliating. But then I suppose all things worked to together for good. :) After my ANU audition, the 3 judges there were so impressed that at the end, when I was with Mum and waiting for Dad to come and pick us up, one of the judges happened to walk past us and recognised me. Then he turned to my mum and said "Are you her mother?" And my mum replied yes. He said, "your daughter is very talented and I can tell you now that there's a spot for her here at ANU if she wants to take it." And immediately after that, he proceeded to show us both the main concert hall in the building to sort of show off the good sides at studying in ANU because I guess he wanted me to accept. I was just blown away! After the sydney con too.... God was so good to give me that encouragement. :)
So anyway, when the first round of offers came in early Jan, I got offered places at Monash, and ANU for music. And in perth, I was offered law at murdoch. I didn't get any offer for a combination of law and music. Dad advised me to wait till second round of offers, and I got back the same offers. So now I was back to square one on deciding whether to choose music or law. If i wanted to do music, i would have had to go to melbourne or canberra- no family there! It wasn't even sydney! But if I wanted to stay here, my other option was law. In the end, I decided to chose law merely for the reason that to practise law, I would need a degree. Whereas, to take music privately, I would NOT need a degree and I was already teaching anyway. So I accepted the murdoch offer.
But I must add, before I close, that it was a miracle in itself getting offered law in murdoch. Until I entered murdoch, I didn't know that murdoch uni had the better law course than UWA. UWA wouldn't even accept me for it's music course (as if studying music needed anything but skill on the instruments!) because of my SAT which they didn't recognise, and here, murdoch offered me a law course based on my average SAT score! WHOA.....
My God is surely a God of miracles and wonder. :D And I still have yet to see what happens in my life. I think it's going to be amazing to see what God can do... :D
P.S. The very day I learnt that UWA wouldn't accept me based on my SAT score, I received an invitation from the Congressional Youth Leadership Council in the US to go on a tour to either Europe or the US and meet some of the important people and senators there! I thought it might have been a scam, but Dad checked it out, and it was real! They invited me because even though my score was average based on international standards, I was among one of the top in Australia (probably cos not many people take the SAT here!! lol).... so there you go! I'm so blessed!