March 19, 2015

Sammi Taylor

851340-triplets-sit-examsStudents and parents alike are experiencing the familiar feeling that comes with starting a new year of school. The Back-to-School sales (and their awful advertisement counterparts) have finally ceased, and the summer holidays seem like a distant memory. Most are still getting back into the swing of things, but for the Class of 2015, they’re already geared up for what is likely to be their most important year of schooling: Year 12.

Going into Year 12 can be incredibly daunting. There’s a lot of value placed on scores and numbers, and the word ‘ATAR’ can send literal shivers down your spine. From achieving personal goals to parental expectations, the pressure can be immense.

However, your final year of high school doesn’t have to be an anxiety-ridden mess. As a recent graduate myself, I’ve had since the end of exams in November to reflect on the year that was. While it seemed stressful at the time, looking back, Year 12 wasn’t so bad after all. For every 2am study session the night before an assessment, there was a fun celebration for Valedictory. For every exam, there’s a party or ‘muck-up day’ to alleviate the stress.

Year 12 was a balancing act of epic proportions. It’s about finding out what works for you, but sometimes it’s the “finding” part that’s tricky. There a few things I wish I’d known going into Year 12, so I think I’ll share them with you.

  1. Priorities: While study is important, find time for your part-time job or after school sport. Regardless of your workload, don’t alienate yourself from friends, family, boyfriends/girlfriends. Hiding in your bat-cave (study space) for hours on end is a hindrance to your work ethic.
  1. Take regular breaks: Everyone needs an escape from literature essays and algebra problems. For me, it was coffee breaks at a local cafe and late night Big Brother re-runs. Nothing takes your mind off impending exams quite like mindless reality television or a good book (something that’s not on the prescribed English text list). Find a solace that allows you to shut down study-mode for a while and rest your brain.
  1. Structure your studying: Allocated time-slot study timetables don’t work for everyone. Find a structure that allows you to be productive, and stick to it. This might mean writing ordered ‘to-do’ lists, from most to least important, and working through it. Spread your workload across your subjects, so that you don’t leave disliked subjects to the last minute, or over-prepare for something you’re already confident with.
  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Exercise. Seriously. Don’t forget to get lots of sleep, drink lots of water, and try not to eat multiple blocks of chocolate while writing revision cue-cards. Find something healthy to snack on while you study (fruit or crackers with dip) but don’t be afraid to treat yourself once in a while.
  1. Remember: Year 12 is not the final decider of your future career/life dreams. If a high ATAR is what you’re aiming for, give it your all. If passing Maths is your goal, put in the effort. Everyone has something that they’re working towards and if you try your absolute hardest, you’re already a winner. Finishing Year 12 is an achievement in itself and something to be immensely proud of.

Good luck Class of 2015! It’ll be over in the blink of an eye, so enjoy it while it lasts.

– Sammi Taylor

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