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Emily Varney Dux

Emily Varney

Epsom Girls Grammar School 2019 Dux, Emily Varney, was awarded 6 Scholarships in Chemistry (Outstanding), Statistics (Outstanding), Biology, Calculus, Economics and Physics last year.

Emily was also recognised as a 2019 Outstanding Scholar Award Winner by The New Zealand Qualifications Authority. This is a prestigious award with only 58 students across the country recognised.

University life over lockdown was a unique experience and definitely not what I expected in the first year of University. Everything from the labs and lectures to the exams and communication between peers was completely online. In a way, I think this made us more responsible for our own learning as we had to keep ourselves accountable for staying up to date with lectures, labs, and assignments. It definitely required a lot of patience with ourselves and each other, in finding ways to stay productive and with the many changes in learning and coursework. Overall, the University and course coordinators were quite supportive and it was still an enjoyable experience, although I am looking forward to attending on campus again.

In 10 years’ time, I would love to be working in some or working in or towards some sort of clinical profession. Right now I am passionate about doing well in achieving this, but there are still many other areas of learning/opportunities that interest me, so I am open to whatever opportunities enlighten me in the future.

I wouldn’t know where to start. I think a lot of the problems in this world are so complex and multifaceted that they cannot simply be solved, but require input and effort from lots of different angles. On another level, I would love to make some sort of contribution towards scientific research, especially in the clinical sense towards prevention and treatment of health issues.

During your time at EGGS you were involved with so many co-curricular groups, particularly about Learning. How have these contributed to your Journey?

Interacting and working with others in these groups has definitely made me more open-minded and appreciative of the collaborative aspect of learning. I have learned the importance of having these interactions, especially in gaining new skills and seeing things from new perspectives. It was also a great way to meet new people and make connections with those who share the same interests. 

What advice do you have for others who would love to follow in your footsteps?

My advice would be to take every opportunity you can and do not be afraid of failure. It is important to know and respect your limits, but do not let the fear of failure or stepping out of your comfort zone hold you back from just giving something a go. Making mistakes or not doing as well as you aimed for are just as important to learning and growing. If you are afraid of failing, you can never have this growth. 

What were the words of wisdom / support / advice / encouragement that you may have received from a teacher that inspired you or supported you at EGGS?

Something from a teacher that has stuck with me is just the idea to try and find a balance in everything. This includes balancing academic studies with taking time off to relax and do things you enjoy. Having this balance and taking care of yourself and your wellbeing is extremely important and will prevent yourself getting burnt out and not doing as well as you could. I found that this also related to making use of all the opportunities and co-curricular activities provided to us, as there are so many beneficial skills to learn outside of the classroom.

What are you reading at the moment?

At the moment, I am reading Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. I have also recently read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, both powerful and interesting, but completely different books. 

What are you watching at the moment?

Right now, I’m watching “When They See Us” and “Dark” on Netflix.

What do you do for fun?

This can range from anything from spending time with my friends and family, reading, watching a TV show, or learning something new.