Life beyond Radford

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Last updated 26.09.2018

Brendan Swan

Class of 2013
OCCUPATION Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Student
Lives Gold Coast, Australia
Attendance at radford Years 11-12
House Kurrajong
  • Bachelor Degree, Southern Cross University, Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Student, 2016-Present
  • Founder and President - Southern Cross University Law Association, 2016
  • 2017 SCU Leadership Award, 2017
  • Incoming Law Clerk with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, 2018
  • 2017 Dean of Law's List for Academic Excellence, 2017
  • 2017 Australian Law Students Association Greatest Community Contribution, 2017
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What does life look for you now?

I live on the Gold Coast and I study a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at Southern Cross University with an expected completion date of October 2019. I am extremely involved in student life, student politics and I am an active member of the Australian Labor Party. In my first year of University, I founded the Southern Cross University Law Association and remained President for the proceeding two years, and, I am presently the Gold Coast Campus Representative on the Student Representation Committee. In my off time from study, I volunteer weekly with a Senator, Candidates and other MP's within the Australian Labor Party. I also coach and play tennis, and I try to stay in touch with as many of my good friends as possible.

Furthermore, I am an incoming Summer Law Clerk with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and I am also an avid fan of classic vehicles, notably Datsun 1200's where I build and restore these vehicles. In 2013, when I finished school, I had a goal of becoming a professional Muay Thai boxer - however, unfortunately I was stopped in my tracks when I suffered a serious brain injury during training. For me, this was particularly challenging as I will never fully recover, was forced to take a large amount of time off work and was unable to go to University for two years. However, the take home for me was simply that I was lucky to be alive where I want to help as many people as possible during my life.

When you were young, what were you hoping to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a Police Officer for my entire life, however, following my injury this was not possible. My second option was the Army - this plan was also stopped very quickly based on my injury. Subsequently, I fast tracked an interest in law and politics and became active in these areas far quicker than originally planned.

What is your favourite Radford moment?

Look, Kurrajong was hated. I was even more hated (I was House Captain) because we won and I was unbelievably arrogant at school. This resulted in me being clapped off stage and the school failing to let me speak during a victory speech (anyone in Year 12 at the time will definitely remember this moment!). Aside from that, I was the host of Icebreaker 2013 which was extremely rewarding and I also participated in Gunawirra. However, my favourite moments were definitely hosting Icebreaker and winning the 2013 House Cup.

One of the better wins and moments I had surrounded a solid argument with the Head of Senior School, the Director of Studies and the Principal was also involved where I requested to drop Mathematics in Year 12. Unfortunately, two of the three were not in favour of it, so I decided to sit in Mathematics class for a semester and did everything but Mathematics work until they let me drop it. I was the only student in the year who was successful in dropping Mathematics and I have a feeling it was kept reasonably quiet so as to avoid setting a precedent. But, rest assured it is doable!

How easy was it to decide what to do in life?

I am of the position that we never actually know what we want to do - life changes so rapidly and we should embrace this, not limit ourselves. Following this answer, I am still deciding and for the time being I have a clear vision of where I want to go, however, opportunity and change is something we all should embrace and I am no exception.

Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?

Absolutely not. I had to change my career path/s very quickly and rapidly based on extraneous circumstances.

What advice do you have for current students?

This section could probably be endless because I don't really ever stop talking and I have a big passion for trying to help people. However, I will try to make this directly analogous to your time at school.

1. I am of the strong position that your ATAR does not mean much at all. I believed this while I was at Radford (I was absolutely in the minority) and I believe it more now. The ATAR I received was 65 - when I began University I studied for one semester in a Bachelor of Legal and Justice Studies (14 weeks) and then transferred straight to a Bachelor of Laws with full course credit granted. I am now and have been in the top 1-5% of my course in terms of academic grades for the duration of my course.

2. Do not have a set plan - it is highly unlikely it will work out. Many of my friends from school changed degrees more than once and most who went straight from school without a gap year either dropped out or have ended up in careers they aren't entirely sure of.

3. Take a chance when you finish school. Go travelling. Volunteer. Move out of home. Find yourself and who you are and follow your heart and your intuition!

Anything else that you would like to share?

Thanks Radford - although we definitely had our differences back in the day, it is safe to say that you are absolutely a first class educational institution and I am unbelievably proud to say that I studied at Radford College.

Where are you now?