At just 17 years of age, the world is Sarah Goh’s oyster.

The Rowville Secondary College General Excellence student is overwhelmed with joy after receiving her ATAR score of 98.8, after a 13-year school journey which began at Heany Park Primary School.

“I just wanted to prove this year that I can really work hard to achieve something really good,” Sarah said.

“I knew that no matter what coming out of this year, if I’d known I’d done my best and tried my hardest in everything, I would be happy no matter what my result was.

“My result was the icing on the cake.”

With Chemistry, Mathematics, English Language and Economics among the subjects Sarah studied, she was grateful for all the hard work and time of her teachers.

“The main thing is the teachers for sure – they just put everything into the students,” she said.

“I was really blessed to have four really great teachers this year.

“They were so supportive and encouraging, but they also challenged me which is really good.

“They were all amazing.”

A healthy work-life balance was part of Sarah’s strategy this year, as she describes 2016 as the ‘best’ year of her life.

“I wanted to really balance my social life and my life outside of school with my studies,” she said.

“During the week, I would study daily. But I had this thing where if I went out, I would enjoy that time but when I got home, I knew it was time to get to work.

“I did Economics, and we talk about quality of life (and) in terms of quality of life, it was amazing this year, this year was the best year of my life – I’ve had the best time.”

Having also completed Year 12 subjects in Year 11, the lesson learnt became simple as she took on the year of her life in 2016 – stress less.

“I did two (Year 12) subjects last year and I spent so much time stressing and having anxiety about it,” Sarah said.

“This year I wanted to be more mature about it.

“This year I’ve got better scores than I had in my entire life (and) it’s really paid off.

“I’ve really learnt not to worry about anything – what’s it going to do? It’s not going to help you out.

“There’s always going to be people who are naturally smart and may not try as hard, but I’m more impressed with the person but may not be as smart naturally but tries really hard.”

So what does 2017 hold? Sarah hopes to study a double Bachelor of Biomedicine and Commerce degree at Monash University’s world-class Clayton campus.

Sarah’s newfound love for Economics this year has driven her to pursue it further.

“I didn’t want to be a doctor straight away but I knew I wanted to do something in health and science,” she said.

“Also this year I decided to pick up Economics and it turns out I really, really enjoyed it and I was surprisingly good at it.

“I decided that for an extra year, I can get a Commerce degree also. I wanted to do something broad so that I have my options open.

“I’m only 17, and I realise that if I go into anything specific it could leave me in a bubble. But I wanted to have my options open and see where it heads.

“I think it’s important not to be afraid to pursue all of your interests.”

Sarah Goh, the younger sister of 2014 dux Samuel Goh, leaves Rowville Secondary College imparting sage advice, urging the-soon-to-be Year 12 students not to let external pressure get the better of them.

“Don’t conform to pressure from anyone else and people around you – possibly parents or anything,” she said.

“I was really lucky, I’ve got really good parents. They never pressured any of us to do well, and I think that’s what helped us do well.

“It was about self-motivation and having the work ethic to really pursue a good score. It’s about trying your best and having that for your own strength and energy.”

Sarah also advises that everyone’s VCE experience is different, and to support your fellow peers.

“Don’t worry about the other people around you and what they score and how they do,” she said.

“Honestly, everyone is having a different experience – my experience this year was different to my friends and all of their experiences.

“A lot of them had different things on their plate and you really can’t compare it with everyone.

“Support everyone around you.”