This week, Narooma High School student Katie Ben has begun university studies in critical thinking.
The Maquarie University unit was offered to about 1000 gifted and talented high school students in Australia.
The 16-year-old from Cobargo was over the moon to have been selected.
She will study critical thinking for six months and hopes to get high marks to gain early entry to university for 2023.
"It can help with a Bachelor in Psychology and Critical Science," she said.
"I hope to become a social worker at juvenile detention centres.
"I like the idea of helping kids who don't want help.
"It has intrigued me to be able to help those who have been written off."
Katie said her schooling and part-time job kept her focussed throughout the bushfires and pandemic.
"Emotionally, the bushfires were very traumatic; I tend to focus on my schoolwork and put school work above most things," she said.
"It was good to focus on something that was stable."
She has felt privileged working at Bermagui Woolworths for the past year.
"Through the pandemic it helped take my mind off of what was going on around me, as crazy as it was with panic buyers, it was great to have a job," she said.
I hope to become a social worker at juvenile detention centres ...Katie Ben
"Many people, my parents included, didn't have that privilege."
She said the pandemic has been "very eye opening".
"It was something we didn't think was going to be this big, and it is still going on now," she said.
Katie has enjoyed helping others.
"It's relieving, trying to calm and reassure them," she said.
Katie keeps motivated at dance classes in her spare time and volunteers in the community when she can.
She was excited for her university experience and future ahead.
"It will open up more opportunities," she said.
Katie will learn how to construct, analyse and critically evaluate arguments; how to detect common fallacies in reasoning; and how to think logically and creatively.
The unit aims to developing practical techniques for the evaluation of reasoning, and applying them to arguments from business, law, science, politics, philosophy, and the media.
Katie's message to other students was to avoid focussing on mistakes and learn from them instead: "It's the best thing I have lived by recently."