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I’m Off To Uni – Look Out Sydney!

Han Worsley

Written by Hannah Worsley – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

For someone who hates numbers, I’ve had to deal with them a lot over the past few weeks.
Student number for university.
Application number for my police check.
Batch number for my vaccinations.
And of course the student helpline phone number because golly whiskers this is confusing.

Yes, that’s right, I’m off to university. My last blog post centred around not knowing what I wanted to do, and it seems that I have now decided I will study medicine at UNSW, which is a thoroughly exciting prospect. Slightly more daunting is the fact that this new opportunity involves a step so far out of my comfort zone that I’ll probably be in the Timbuktu of comfort, i.e., not at all. I’m moving from my relatively isolated rural property, onto a bustling university campus, in the biggest city in Australia!

There are definitely a few things I’ve done to make my life a little bit easier, considering my inexperience. For example, I’m not taking my own car, because city driving involves pedestrians rather than kangaroos, traffic lights rather than roundabouts, and fancy sports cars rather than hulking Landcruisers. (This leaves me to handle public transport, but that’s a post of its own :-)). I’m also going fully catered, in on campus accommodation, I’m hoping that will reduce my responsibilities and give me a bit more time and space to work myself out.

The thing about moving is that it’s simultaneously simple and complicated. In essence, it really just involves relocating myself. I’ve stayed away from home for long periods and travelled overseas by myself, so the independence thing will just be an extension of what I’ve already practiced.  Also, I know a few people who will be on the other end to greet me.

That’s the simple part. The complicated part is that a rural lifestyle has been a part of me for so long that I’m probably going to struggle to get used to not having my horse in the paddock adjoining my backyard. That in my travels between suburbs, I won’t be welcomed by signs telling me the ‘population ratio of sheep to people’ as I am when I travel between towns in my area. These little things that have made me who I am, will now only be able to appear via Skype and Facebook photos and during semester breaks, rather than from the second I open my eyes in the morning, having been awoken by cows calling for their calves and a dog snoring outside my window.

I think that everyone feels a bit like this when something as monumental as the move to university comes along. There are people moving interstate, between cities, from the city to the country, overseas, and everything in between. And I tell you what, I think a lifestyle change is life changing for all of us. As a result, the most important numbers over the next few weeks for me, will probably be the phone numbers of my parents, who I will call and ask them to pass the phone around. To my horse Bellboy, to my dog Charlie, to the dying microwave that really needs replacing. Because they’re sounds of my rural home that can sneak their way into city life, just like me.

Mean Girls

11262356_10206720360317866_1929929064_nWritten by Vanessa Sporne – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

I always believed that Regina George’s ‘Burn Book’ from the 2004 movie ‘Mean Girls’ was a distant myth; dreamt up by some director who had no perception of the reality of the teenage girl. That was until I realised that the ‘Burn Book’ was sitting open right in front of me, ready for me to read, and even add to. Today’s technology, in the form of social media, has given birth to the modern and revised version of the ‘mean girl’ bible, one that spans not only your high school, but the world.

Facebook has become the perfect stage for victimisation, shaming and discrimination. It is an open arena, where victims are often pummeled by destructive comments concerning body image and social status. The most ruthless of these attacks are acted out by young women, on young women. Too often do I see girls my age and younger, turn on each other using social media as a weapon. The attacks are always personal; girls will use anything they can to destroy their opponent emotionally, whether that be body weight, a family situation, relationship status or sex life.

The Facebook comment section has made it so easy for people to take sides in an argument. Like two opposing armies, groups of girls will go head to head online, ripping each other apart. These wars continue in reality, creating unnecessary divides that last years. When we speak to someone online we can pretend they don’t exist. We can pretend that they aren’t a human being with a real personality, with a real family, with real insecurities and real passions. Young girls lose respect for each other too quickly online because it’s so easy to forget what we are doing. It is paramount that we remember, because unlike Regina George’s ‘Burn Book’, everyone else can see what we are doing and how can we expect the world to respect women when we don’t even respect each other?

Constant bickering online will not gain us any respect in the wider world, in fact it diminishes it. Young men will often join these online fights, only in order to mock the participants. We as teenage girls cannot let ourselves be preoccupied by petty fights that achieve no real purpose. By ruthlessly tearing each other down on social media we are losing the vital self confidence that is needed for women to strive for success in the modern world. By supporting each other in every arena, whether that be at school, at work or online, we gain respect and strength. When we post photos, thoughts and videos online we place our heads on the chopping block, all we can do is hope that the axe doesn’t fall. It’s a risk we wouldn’t have to take if young women held each other in a higher regard on social media.

It’s Time to Take Our Generation Seriously!

IMG_0950By Kaitlyn Loft – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

The word ‘politics’ is often used like a youth deterrent by adults and as a punchline by teens themselves. My generation – the millennials – are infamous for their political apathy; but it is, arguably, not the fault of our own laziness, but the difficulty young people have engaging in politics.

The general inability of young people to comprehend the complexities of the political system stems, in part, from the unwillingness of those who do understand to explain, and from the older generations to encourage youth to engage in politics.

There is no reason why we shouldn’t be interested in politics. Simply put; voting is compulsory. Any change in leadership can change the future path of a country, and the future is where we are all inevitably heading. The laziness and political apathy of my generation probably stems from the attitude with which we (women, in particular) are treated with the moment any idea that questions the existing system leaves our mouths.

My generation and the generations before us exist on different wavelengths. That much is obvious from those sketchy comics about students in school, holding books and asking, “How do we turn it on?”.  There is a disbelief in older generations in our ability to handle ourselves in the world because of the misconception that technology has somehow alienated us from society, rather than left us better connected than ever. It is the lack of trust in passing the responsibility for caring for the world into a new set of hands.

Young people are turned away from politics and turn towards a cool apathy that leaves us at a stalemate. I, for one, have had enough of being belittled by others for half-formed political ideas that are shut down rather than nurtured by the people who could help us to understand the system (political and social) we are shoved into post-high school.

If I had one pet peeve when it came to having this conversation, it would be the intrinsic sexism threaded into almost any and every social debate.

Women, as a minority, are discouraged from having anything. Too much sex; whore. Too little sex; prude. Likes to read; a bore. Likes to party; airhead. Girls are shamed about what they wear, how they, like, talk, what their interests are. Girls often believe they cannot enter male-dominated fields because they will not make it.  It is also said that girls cannot be as successful as men in the types of jobs deemed worthy of women – secretaries, nurses, teachers – because they are undervalued and reputable for having low salaries (and why is that, I wonder?).

The same thing applies to politics.

Women, in particular, are dissuaded from politics not just for the same general reasons as the demographic of young people, but the treatment of women in politics is also another deterrent. Media headlines run rampant, scrutinizing expression, appearance and clothing; as if the colour of a coat should have any bearing on former PM Julia Gillard’s ability to run a country or on the credibility of her voice.

If only the media could advocate female empowerment and political interest rather than advocating the need of new wardrobes for women in tough, highly-valued jobs

Girls can do anything; that’s not the argument being had here. What I want to see more of is girls doing anything they want (wear a dress, wear high heels, be a politician, be a housewife) without being mocked for it. I want our generation to be taken seriously, and I want our generation to take themselves seriously so that we can begin to bridge this generational gap and start to have our say in the world we live in.

Welcome to our Blogging Team Director – Jessica Fealy

Hello from a very hot, steamy and sunny, tropical north Queensland everyone!  My name is Jess Fealy and I am lucky enough to have been invited on board the Country to Canberra team this year as the Blogging Team Director!  This week our blogging crew kicks back into action with the first of our posts for 2016.  We have a terrific group of country teenage girls back again this year, ready to share snippets of their lives, their dreams, their thoughts and passions with us.  I’m super excited to be working with these girls – I know you are going to love getting to know them and will find their posts really interesting. Before we start posting away, I thought I’d better tell you a little bit about myself, I’m a blogger and a social media lover so I’m prone to oversharing 🙂 but I’ll do my best to keep it short and sweet here!

I was born and bred on the Atherton Tablelands and grew up in a little country town called Malanda, well known for it’s milk factory and my family were one of the many in the district who were dairy farmers.  With the benefit of age and a little bit of wisdom I can now say I loved growing up on the farm with my parents and two sisters, but as a teenager I couldn’t wait to leave home, to get away from all the farm work chores and ‘tied-downness’ of having to be home to milk cows twice a day.  So I literally skipped off to university to study Commerce/Law at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW.

Fast forward ten or so years, I finished my Commerce Degree, became a qualified Chartered Accountant, married a very lovely boy from my hometown, had three kids in four years, living in Brisbane, and all of a sudden it just didn’t seem to be the right fit!  So – my husband and I packed up our house, sold most of our things, bundled up the kids and headed off to travel around Australia in our camper trailer.  This is where my love of blogging began as I started writing to share our travels with our family and friends.  Our trip was amazing, but ended up being cut short to take up the opportunity to become farmers! DSC_0094 Skip another couple of years, add another baby into the mix, and you will now find us living and working in Far North Queensland on our family owned mango, avocado, lime and passionfruit farm called ‘Blue Sky Produce’. IMG_7943 Fealy Family-2103 copy FBR I love rural Australia.  There is no place I would rather live and raise my family.  I believe that our regional communities need better representation in high level policy making decisions.  I believe females living in rural Australia are grossly under utilised and need to be empowered to seek out leadership opportunities and encouraged to pursue careers in politics and executive level positions.  Our young, country women are the perfect candidates to speak out for rural Australia.  Country to Canberra facilitates all of these things and I am thrilled to be a part of the team!

Stay tuned for some great posts on the Country to Canberra blog this year – look out Australia – the country gals are coming at ya! DSCF6021

Jessica Fealy joined the Country to Canberra team in 2016 as the Blogger Team Director.  Jess grew up on a dairy farm in Malanda, Far North Queensland before heading off to study a Bachelor of Commerce/Law at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales.

Jess is a qualified Chartered Accountant who worked for many years in Brisbane as a senior accountant in wealth creation and self-managed superannuation, before deciding on a ‘tree-change’ and heading off to travel around Australia with her young family, which is where her love for blogging began.

Now Jess and her husband Matt, and their four young children, live and work on their family owned mango, avocado, lime and passionfruit farm in Mareeba, Far North Queensland.  Jess is a member of the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network as well as a steering committee member for her local ‘Resourcing Women of the North’ Group.  She is passionate about rural Australia and ensuring the young, country women of today, have their voices heard.

Jess blogs about family, farming and fun in Far North Queensland at her blog “Are We There Yet?”

Not 100% sure where you’re going? Me neither. And that’s ok.

Han WorsleyBy Hannah Worsley, Country to Canberra teen blogger

Dear life,

I don’t know what to do with you. Yesterday, I traipsed around my high school, tracking down teachers to sign a slip of paper for me. It was my last time to do this as an actual student, because yesterday, I also officially signed out of school.

I’m not sure that this officially makes me a part of the ‘real’ world yet. For example, I dragged my mum around a Brisbane shopping complex certain I was taking her towards the car park. Instead we ended up at the opposite end. And when given the task of navigating, I’ve got a reputation for holding the map upside down. Surely, I tell myself, a ‘real’ adult would be able to orient herself?

Ironically, I spent my 18th birthday on a camp with a bunch of other friends, which involved a trek, and we got lost too. Despite being selected for this opportunity because of certain admirable and mature attributes, it seemed that none of us, despite our age, are ‘real’ adults.

Now this whole thing about being lost may seem like pointless rambling, but it’s a pretty good analogy for my current situation. Having worked hard through year 12, I’ve finished my HSC exams pleased with how I feel I’ve gone, yet when someone utters the simple questions of “what do you want to do?” I am lost. I don’t know. At 12 I wanted to be a jockey (I’m too tall), at 14 I wanted to be an archaeologist (what was 14 year old Hannah thinking?), at 15 I wanted to be a politician (no comment), and at 16 I decided on medicine. And I thought I had it all figured out. Until it came to my preferences for UAC, and teary discussions with my mother, which left me, just like in Brisbane and on trek, lost.

In one such discussion, my mum told me that high school is one of those places where you always know what’s coming next. Year 7 is followed by year 8, you have a pre-determined schedule of exams and assessments, and there are daily reminders and weekly assemblies to make sure you know exactly what is happening, all the time. A room change, a substitute teacher, or a fire drill can lead to an outbreak of chaos. And I think me signing out of school is the equivalent of a fire drill-you kind of know it’s coming, and you know it means you’re going to have to change your plans, but it doesn’t stop it being annoying and confusing. Except having to choose a career path isn’t a drill and the only alarm bells are the ones in my head screaming HANNAH WORSLEY THE MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN AGAIN AND YOU ARE LOST.

I’ve come to the conclusion that not everyone knows what they want to do, and maybe I’ll figure it out next week, maybe it will be next year, or maybe halfway through a university degree that I suddenly realise isn’t for me. Until then, I’ve got some more time to be lost.

Learn more about the wonderful author, Hannah, here.

Lessons Learnt: My Three Steps For Handling Year 12

IMG_0950Kaitlyn Loft, Country to Canberra teen blogger.




Year 12 can be characterized by stress, by late nights and occasional breakdowns, a total accumulation of things gone wrong that can leave you crying over nothing at all in the middle of the night (never mind that test you have tomorrow morning that you haven’t studied for, or the accrued sleep debt that’s in desperate need of managing). Sure, year 12 is the culmination of over a decade of schooling, but it is important to keep perspective and realise it’s also really not that big of a deal.

If I were to describe my experience of year 12, it would go a little something like that. The year passes quickly, and you’ll find exam time dawning upon you just a few days after your first class. The prospect of all of this can be daunting, and can seem unmanageable, but having come out of the other end, I can assure you that it is completely survivable.

I believe in taking a three step approach to handling year 12; accepting, identifying, and managing.

shutterstock_1160614541. Accepting

There is no point stressing out over deadlines and bedtimes because both are bound to broken. Accept the inevitability of staying up past nine on a school night working on your folio, or the fact that you are likely to have a week crammed full of tests and due dates for assignments. A lot of the time, these will be nonnegotiable and teachers will be inflexible when it comes to deadlines (they seem to have a habit of forgetting that students study for, and may prioritize, subjects other than theirs).

Rather than spending the week before stressing about the impending deadlines, it’s far easier to start-off the year knowing that they’ll be there, trying to manage them, and understanding that redemptions are always there to provide a fall-back option. No matter what, you’ll make it through.

2. IdentifyingProject 365 #200: 190713 The Finishing Line

After accepting that things will get tough at times, the next important step is to identify your blind spots. Essentially, identify the areas of study that will require your upmost attention and put in extra mile effort to make your weaknesses a strength. Teachers can be particularly helpful with this; however, you (like me) might feel a bit swamped by the end of the year.

When October rolled around and it was time to start prepping for exams, I was left with mountains of practice activities, quizzes, exams, revision lectures and resources to mull over. It might seem like a blessing when your teachers provide you with all of this revision material, until you’re sitting at home and wondering where to start. Why? Because you have five subjects, a minimum of five practice exams for each, and have spent the first week of the holidays doing absolutely nothing. The easiest step to identifying where to begin is, I have found, to do just that – begin. Once you push past the fear (and the paralysing procrastination), you’re one step closer to success.

My lesson: take at least one practice exam for each subject (the lucky ones will have one organised by the school under exam conditions) and use the results and feedback from that to learn which areas in a particular subject are the most challenging. Studying past exams and examiners reports also help identify problem areas among students, which are, coincidentally, also the areas of study likely to crop up on your exam at the end of the year.

Girls Resize 2*3) Managing

Now for the hardest step – managing. When I talk about ‘managing’, I refer to both managing stress and managing workload. The two almost seem to come hand-in-hand. For those of you suffering from mental illness, on top of managing a year 12 workload, social life, part-time work and further study applications, you’ve got it rough. I would suggest implementing some serious stress and anxiety management strategies; admittedly, easier said than done.

There are tons of resources you can search up, track down, or get given to you to help with the workload. Having tried the I’ll-do-it-soon and just-wing-it approach, I would absolutely advocate not doing that. Something as simple as grouping your subjects, listing the revision material you have access to, and then allocating a minimum amount of hours needed to be spent studying that subject (per day or per week), can relieve an incredible amount of stress.

I can’t make any promises; only speak from my experience as a student who tried very hard to get consistently good grades. This might be a formula that works for you, or it might not. There are many, many different ways to handle (or not handle) year 12. Aside from what I have said already, and perhaps a hopeful ‘good luck’, there are three final pieces of advice I can offer:

  1. Crying is okay.
  2. The end of the world isn’t due for a couple of hundred years – failing that assessment is not the end of everything.
  3. Doing anything is better than doing nothing. Work hard, focus and have no regrets.


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The Top 6 Horror Films with Feminist Themes

By VesnaVesna Clark, Country to Canberra teen blogger.

As a horror fan and feminist, it is often difficult to find a horror or thriller film that is not entirely misogynistic and stereotypical of women. Most horror films will portray the “dumb blonde” and the “passive, shy brunette”. Both characters are exploited, sexualised and more often than not, killed off very early in the plot.

Horror films have a history for employing everyday female stereotypes that degrade and limit women. However, once in awhile I will come across a horror film that caters to my feminist beliefs and views, portraying a strong female protagonist and/or exploring women’s issues.

Some of these films mentioned only include the “final girl”, which is the female character who survives to the very end and confronts the killer, seen within old classics such as Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. This female will most likely exhibit intelligence, curiosity and vigilance.

You’re Next (2011)
Normally, modern horror/thrillers are a hit or miss for me, however You’re Next is definitely a hit in terms of entertainment, action and the female protagonist Erin, played by Sharni Vinson (an Australian!). When the Davison family are faced with a gang of masked, ax-wielding killers, it seems as though they are helplessly trapped. However, as panic ensues, Erin is the only one who can maintain a clear mind as we discover she was brought up in a survivalist camp. There is a number of times where Erin comes face to face with the masked killers, fighting them off while also attempting to bring the remaining family members to safety and sealing off the house.

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The Babadook (2014)
What I love about this film is not only its evocative cinematography and compelling story line but the way in which it explores depression. The film tells the story of a single mother, Amelia and her troubled son. After reading the creepy story of ‘Mister Babadook’, strange events begin to occur and Amelia spirals into a depressive and anxious state that threatens her remaining relationships. Simultaneously, The Babadook subverts stereotypes typical of horror films including a young, sexualised protagonist presented as either a “whore” or “virgin”. However, Amelia is a fully grown woman who is in control of her sexual desires and needs. Thus, The Babadook presents a mulitifaceted female protagonist who is faced with an unwanted presence that is fuelled by Amelia’s grief and fear.

Carrie (1976)
Carrie is a story that caters exclusively to feminine issues, such as the stigma surrounding menstruation. Carrie, played by Sissy Spacek, is a young woman who is abused both physically and emotionally by her own mother and peers for ultimately “becoming a woman”. Throughout the film, she develops her telekinetic powers, using them as a weapon as she unleashes her revenge. Carrie defies the notion that her value as a female is inextricably linked to purity and instead constructs her own rules. In particular, the film focuses on not only “what men fear about women’s sexuality” (Stephen King) but also women fearing each other’s strengths. Spacek delivers an exceptionally powerful performance, communicating a striking tale of bloody revenge.

The Shinning (1980)
The first images that may spring to mind are twins, snow and elevators filled with blood. However, The Shinning also explores the progression and effects of an abusive relationship, depicted through Jack’s often violent and unpredictable behavior towards Wendy. Jack is consistently blaming Wendy for a lot of his own faults, calling her a “bitch” and a “sperm bank”. In complete isolation, the Overlook Hotel becomes a metaphor for the entrapment Wendy experiences within her abusive relationship. She is depicted as a caring, independent and resourceful, doing whatever she can in order to keep her and her son alive. As Jack’s insanity and rage increases, the chaotic snowstorm brews. Wendy is an incredibly brave female character, a definite must see.
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’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby is a literal horror story of maternity where Rosemary’s husband arranges for her to be raped and impregnated by Satan. This is a story about the removal of women’s reproductive rights, as Rosemary’s body becomes a vessel for every other person’s use but her own. As she begins to recognise the strange behavior of her husband and elderly neighbours her concerns are dismissed as she is led to believe she is going crazy.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)
This quirky and gorgeous film follows a young female vampire who roams Iranian streets, spooking bystanders while in search for her next meal. The gothic and eerie film is successful in its gender reversal of vampire tropes. Amirpour depicts the vampire’s bloody and brutal encounters, in particular with a thug-like bully who takes her back to his house believing she is a prostitute, she reveals her fangs, showing that she is the real predator here and kills him. Amidst the blood sucking, a romantic relationship develops between the young female vampire and Arash, a young man who owns a lavish 1950s automobile. The relationship is centered on equal grounds as the vampire is not shown to be submissive around him, but still her calm and collected but intimidating presence shines through.

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Horror/thriller films still have a long way to go in terms of representation of women, in particular women of colour. Almost all of the films mentioned above portray white protagonists. However, there are horror films such as Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight, 28 Days Later and Alien vs. Predator that depict strong black females.

If my reviews sparked your interest, I encourage you to watch. And moving forward, keep challenging those stereotypes in film that are holding women back.

The Year 12 Survival Guide: 6 tips to get you through the dreaded year


Vanessa Sporne, Country to Canberra teen blogger.



Year 12 was tough, and no matter how much I whinged and whined about how crazy it was, it never seemed to go away. I did it for 11 months, and when I look back, I realise that there were a couple of very specific things that got me safely and happily to the end. Throughout, I became fed up with school-produced Year 12 Survival Guides that didn’t seem to accept that I’m a normal teenager. “Thinking positive” was only going to get me so far, so here’s a list of little things that helped me through my final year of high school, which in turn, I hope can help others:

  1. Exercise

Yeah, I hate it too. It was only when I realised how much school work I got done after a short run, that I started doing it regularly. Physical activity really takes a back-seat when you start the dreaded year, but you need to realise that there is always time. Whenever I wasn’t feeling motivated, I went for a short run up my road and took in some of the amazing views we have here in Jamberoo (exhibit A below).

  1. TV Shows

They allow you to escape everything. I can assure you that when I was watching the ‘Red Wedding’ episode of Game of Thrones I was definitely not thinking about the Modern History exam I had the next day. You need to clear your mind, otherwise year 12 will dominate every second of your life. These shows let you relax. Orange Is The New Black got me through my half-yearlies, Mad Men got my through my English Extension 2 Major Work and Vikings got me through my trial exams. Little periods of relaxation reminded me that I’m not the only person on earth, and Year 12 is not the end of the world.

  1. Friday Nights

Never stop spending time with your friends. After 11 months of the HSC I finally formulated the perfect balance between study and social life. Friday nights became a ‘school free’ time for me, they were perfect because I could look forward to them all week. By Friday I was always exhausted, and dinner or a movie night with friends was the perfect thing to release all that tension and just have fun.


  1. Bananas

I love my coffee, but I found it tended to make me feel extremely lethargic towards the afternoon. Also, buying a latte from the local cafe every morning was eating a huge hole in my wallet. That’s when I discovered the incredible power of the banana. They go perfectly with Weet-Bix and got my energy up for the rest of the day, meaning that I was a lot more productive when it came to Year 12 study.

  1. Music

It just seems to have this incredible power. It can make you feel anything. Before an exam, a lot of my friends and I just sat and listened to some of our favourite tunes, it eased the tension and cleared our minds. My drama class also used some AC/DC to get ourselves pumped-up for our practical exam, and one of my friends (a six-foot, eighteen-year-old male) likes to listen to ‘Disney Radio’ to cheer himself up after a bad mark. Singing to ballads in the car also became a little hobby of mine, I’m just hoping that nobody saw me belting out Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John when I stopped at the traffic lights the other day… Fill your day with music and don’t let school get you down!

Skagerak Arena June 2009

  1. Having Something To Look Forward To

I officially finished my Year 12 Exams at 2:35pm on the 3rd of November 2015, and before that, I had the entire afternoon completely planned out with ice cream eating, beach visiting and TV watching. I was able to make it to the end, because I had so many exciting things to look forward to. I even had a little money box, which I slowly filled with funds for my ten-day trip to New Zealand in December. I had a lot of fun pencilling in events after the 3rd of November, and whenever I felt like I just couldn’t go on, I took a peek at my calendar and realised that Year 12 was not the end of the road. The harder I worked, the better the end was going to feel. And now, the end is here!

This is a very personal list – the same thing isn’t going to work for everyone. Year 12 challenges you, but you need to be challenged in order to know yourself and the world around you. My final year of high school has taught me how to balance my life and be able to achieve academically, while still maintaining my happy lifestyle (and my sanity). Work out what works for you and good luck!

The Term Our Teen Blogger Wants To Ban

VesnaBy Vesna, Country to Canberra teen blogger.




Urban dictionary #1: “What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend.” Example: “I spent all that money on a date, just to find out she put me in the Friend Zone”

The “friend zone” is a reoccurring term, which is ostensibly gender-neutral, but in reality, is primarily used by men and teenage boys to describe a woman denying a man’s sexual advances. Regrettably, the example provided by Urban Dictionary is a widely held belief within our generation. It implies that a “nice guy” is owed sex or a romantic relationship from females that they’ve invested time in. Sadly, if the woman says no or wishes to be friends, we often become a part of the running joke, called a “bitch” or a “waste of money or time”. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s a case I’ve seen one too many times.

Guy Girl


A woman who says no is not respected by the “friend zone” attitude. It implies a number of questions: shouldn’t she feel lucky that a boy is interested in her? Why would she just want to be friends when she can have so much more? The nature of the term is used to demonize women for not taking interest or complying with the wants of a man, and this running joke is widespread. Just look at television series and films such as Just Friends or The Office. Often, represented within the media, it seems that if the man waits out the oh so torturous “friend zone” then the women who has caused him so much emotional conflict and pain will wake up one day and magically fall in love with him to live happily ever after. Here, friendship is portrayed as a significant failure, suggesting that the only meaningful and worthwhile relationship a man and a woman can share is sexual.


What should be communicated within all popular media today, is that friendship is worthwhile and no one is obliged to return interest with a relationship or sex. While rejection is not a fun ride, if you reject someone you are not a bad person and if someone rejects you, you have to respect their decision, especially if that person is your friend.

Thankfully, there are many women and men calling out the “friend zone” for what it is: a pathetic excuse used by many “nice guys” who aren’t nice at all.
Urban dictionary #10: A mythical place where misogynists go to when a woman doesn’t want them.



Power Trip Recap: What made my Country to Canberra experience ‘unforgettable’

Libby O’Brien was one of the winners of Country to Canberra’s 2014 essay competition. For her amazing efforts, she had her work published and scored a ‘Power Trip’ to Canberra, where she met powerful female leaders, toured parliament and was interviewed by top media outlets. We asked Libby to look back on some of her favourite and most inspiring moments…


C2C: Hi Libby! Tell us, what motivated you to enter the 2014 competition?

Libby: My English teacher suggested I enter the competition and she believed I could relate to the topic. I felt that the main message behind ‘Country to Canberra’ was very relevant in my daily life. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing a local female councillor from my area and I learnt a lot about my town in the process of formulating my essay.

C2C: How did it feel being told you were a winner?

Libby: I couldn’t believe it! I really didn’t think I’d make it in the top 15 let alone be one of the winners. I entered the competition not expecting anything but when I received the phone call from Hannah I was stunned and so excited. I was really glad that I entered and couldn’t wait to meet the other winners and chat about important issues that affect rural teenage girls.

I couldn’t believe it! …I was stunned and so excited.

C2C: What was your favourite part about the ‘Power Trip’ to Canberra?

Libby: I really enjoyed the Powerful Women’s Breakfast where I gained knowledge from the ladies we spoke to. I honestly enjoyed every single part of the trip so it’s hard to nominate just one event!

C2C: What was the best piece of advice or lesson you learnt?

Libby: I really enjoyed the fact that the women at the breakfast had achieved so much and it really inspired me. The main lesson I learnt was that women can do anything they put their minds to.

The main lesson I learnt was that women can do anything they put their minds to.

C2C: How has your experience with Country to Canberra helped you going forward?

Libby: The Country to Canberra Power Trip was an unforgettable experience that developed my communication skills. The trip made me more aware of the issues rural women face and has helped me discuss these issues with other girls in my area.

C2C: What are you up to now and what are your future plans?

Libby: I have been working non-stop with school activities and study. I hope to further my studies at University next year but I haven’t really had the time to put much thought into what my future exactly looks like!

I honestly enjoyed every single part of the trip so it’s hard to nominate just one event!

C2C: What advice would you give girls who are going on a ‘Power Trip’ in 2015?

Libby: My main advice would be to really try to absorb as much information as you possibly can on the trip. That way your adventure to Canberra will be truly unforgettable like it was for Vesna, Hannah and me.