By Bridie McArthur
When I’d imagined what my Year 11 would look like, I had absolutely not factored in the global pandemic of 2020 that forced me and my classmates into a new world of Zoom classes (and socially distanced walks to escape those aforementioned calls). I would’ve probably focused on the thrill of being allowed to leave school grounds, and the overwhelming pressure from knowing that these are the two years that actually count.
Lessons learnt in Year 11
Truth be told, this year was a complete mess. I actually kind of thrived in online school, but it’s when I came back that I started getting super stressed. My first learnt was don’t overload yourself. I certainly did: two productions, work, outside writing stuff, in-school writing stuff, going for a leadership position, and a lot more that made the last few months a massive blur of tears and fun and stress.
Year 11 is already a jam-packed year, so my advice would be to make sure you’re not jamming the suitcase so much that you can’t even zip it, and everything explodes out of it in a whirl of tiredness and panic because how am I supposed to get anything done?
That being said, school is not the be-all and end-all — have some fun! Do what you love, whether that be theatre or sport or work or anything else that would fall under ‘extra-curricular’ – it’s a great experience and you’ll make some amazing friends.
Using my support network
If your school is like mine, your cohort probably got a whole lot smaller — this is what made my year group get a whole lot closer this year. Make an effort to connect with the people around you; they’re going through the same things, and they’re the only people who understand the math test-related pain you’re suffering through. It’s important to have a support network, especially in a year as messy and heavy as this one, so turn to your friends, peers, and teachers when you need help, academic or otherwise.
Don’t be afraid to change your subjects because your priority should be doing what’s best for you and your future. Talk to your teachers, your parents, and your friends before you make a decision – my article on when to drop a subject could be helpful. Maybe don’t leave it until mid-semester, though!
Make the most of it
I can’t believe I’m actually finished Year 11 — it feels like it’s been two weeks. I know I’ll be making the most of my last year of high school; savour what you have now, the ugly (exam-related tears) and the fun (friends, trips to the local café, the friends you made in the musical/sports team/etc).
Year 11 is the start of a two-year journey, and that’s scary, but it goes so quickly! So take it on with all that you have.