Nick Bernardo shares how he managed to keep pursuing his sports and musical interests while also exploring the best career for him.
When Nick Bernardo came to the end of Year 12 at Scotch College, the world was his oyster. He’d worked hard to earn a high ATAR score while juggling a raft of subjects, including chemistry, philosophy, German and Italian, and was excited for what lay ahead.
But then there was the inevitable question asked of every high school graduate: What do you want to do next?
The former school captain knew he wanted to continue his studies, and was interested in pursuing a career in law, but he was careful of not choosing a path that would limit his options. He wanted to be able to continue the fun extracurriculars he enjoyed at Scotch, such as rowing, choir and musical theatre, while still having the time and flexibility to explore career options.
After some research, enrolling in the Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Finance at the University of Melbourne made the most sense. Nick had come from a family of accountants and wanted to follow in his family’s footsteps. At the same time, the Melbourne Model – a Melbourne University initiative that incorporates ‘breadth subjects’ into a student’s course – gave Nick the freedom to sample subjects from other disciplines and find what he was interested in. Choosing the University of Melbourne also opened up the possibility of studying away from home at Trinity College.
‘My older sister, Tonya, had studied at Melbourne University as well, and she went to Trinity College two years ahead of me. She had a fantastic experience and highly recommended it, so I followed her advice,’ says Nick.
‘It was a new experience to move out of home and be surrounded by strangers. It’s intimidating to start with, but you realise everyone is on the same page and you all settle quickly.’
‘Because universities are so big now, it’s very easy to get stuck in a bit of a silo and not meet new people outside of your immediate studies. It can be hard to put yourself out there. But Trinity College made it so much easier to befriend a broad range of characters and learn about what they do.’
Trinity College also provided Nick the opportunity to continue with his extracurricular activities and connect with like-minded students. He took up rowing for Trinity College and joined the Tiger Tones, Trinity’s male a cappella group (Trinity also has female a cappella group called the Candystripes) and toured the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Nick completed his commerce degree in 2016 and went on to pursue a career in law by enrolling in the postgraduate Juris Doctor degree. Now working as a lawyer, Nick frequently runs into Trinity College alumni at work functions, networking events, and sometimes even across the table during litigation negotiations. He says it creates a nice connection and this ongoing sense of community has proven to be valuable after finishing his studies.
‘If you’re thinking of joining Trinity College, I recommend you dive in. Straight from school, the idea of being on your own can be especially scary, but having this supportive community made it so much easier to transition from school to university. So often students don’t get that support when they go to university on their own.’
By Justin Meneguzzi