Student Stories: Reflections on Year 12, one year on

This time last year I was finishing high school. In one way, it feels like yesterday I was celebrating with friends, bracing for end-of-year exams and feeling sad about the end of it all. Despite all this, life has well and truly changed since those final days of Year 12.

Looking back, I now understand how much of a bubble the senior years are for students. Part-time jobs and extra-curricular activities were pretty much put on hold while school took over in the final months. All that I had to think about were my friends, school tests and exams.

Many people who had already graduated Year 12 told me how ATAR scores mean very little once the dust settles. I was pleasantly surprised by my results — it got me plenty of pats on the back, praise and entry into my preferred uni course. Yet once high school had finished and summer was in full swing, everyone moves on with their life and the number meant very little.

I was under the impression that uni would offer more spare time for catching up with friends, working at my part-time job and being able to do whatever I wanted on weekdays. My group of friends and I now long for another day of high school, to just joke around in class and hang out together all day. If your high school days are numbered, treasure the time you share with your mates. When it’s over, make an effort to keep in touch.

The respect I have for my past teachers only grows more with time (even the ones I disliked). Once out I was of the system, it’s easy to realise how hard teaching is, and that no one was as bad as they seemed.

My advice for Year 12 students

No matter what happens in Year 12 — no matter what score you get — none of it matters for very long. There is no failing, there is no dead-end if you don’t achieve what you had in mind. If you don’t make your course, there are so many other alternatives. Just take the chances to work hard, both socially and professionally. Soak up those last days of Year 12, even the chaos of the exam period.

Then unleash yourself into life, because despite the stress of those final months, Year 12 sets you up perfectly to go into the real world, as much as is possible.

By Sean Mortell

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