It’s kind of crazy. Being a young person. Having to deal with the arising new facets of life. The first point of call is that your body changes. Then your mind changes. Your opinion changes. Your friends are almost always changing. And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, your schooling life changes dramatically.
I go to a school where we have a Junior, Middle and Senior School. This means that by the time you reach Senior School years you are expected to be seriously dedicated to your schooling life; complete all homework, have assignments finished a week before they are due and always be studying when not at school.
Well for me this certainly didn’t happen. When you reach Year Eleven, schooling life becomes ‘serious’ or more so, you must get serious about the HSC. The HSC, stands for Higher School Certificate and is more or less a death sentence. In the state of NSW, students complete a series of exams as their leaving qualifications, this then provides you with an ATAR, Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, as a method of getting into University courses.
Throughout the two final schooling years, students are more often than not going to end up hating; including but not exclusive to; their parens, their friends, their teachers, and themselves. It is a tedious process in which you begin to wonder if you are worth anything more than this life long goal of receiving an ATAR that is above ninety.
Teachers are constantly advising us on how to be Band Six students, or more how what we are doing will not get us a Band Six. The HSC becomes our identifier. When you catch up with family, the first thing they ask is “How is the HSC?” or “How are your majors going?” to which all students reply with “fantastic”, even when they are usually not.
“Why?” you’re asking, “Why am I telling you about the HSC, and touching on why it is so irritating for all of us HSC students who have sat Trials, completed Majors, and in October will begin our actual HSC exams?”
Well here’s why. I hold a unique perspective, that contradicts (use that as a belonging technique) most, if not all teachers and parents. Get ready for it. Okay, are you actually sure you are ready for it?
The HSC, or your ATAR, are not, and I repeat: are not an indication of your self worth or value.
I know the Board of Studies makes it impeccably hard to believe that there could be a world out there aside from their governing forces of ridiculous criteria and rubrics. But let me remind you that this mark, only holds one value, and that is to apply to a University degree.
Don’t get me wrong, I am of the firm belief that education is extremely important and that we are blessed to have one. In addition, we should try our bests in everything we are involved in (and that may mean a little bit of after school study). But I do want to challenge all of those HSC go’ers out there, that this is not the end.
After school we are actually given the choice of what to do with our lives (including when we go to the toilet and when we eat). For some of us that may mean going to University, for others it may mean having a gap year, or getting a full time job.
I want to encourage you that whatever it is you end up doing after the HSC, as long as it is what you feel is best for your life- then do it. For me, I definitely will not be going to University next year. Although my current marks are fairly high, meaning I could apply for an array of courses, I have decided that it is not something I am interested in or ready for. And that’s okay too. I have many friends who have no idea of what they are going to do after school, and are stressed beyond comprehension about the HSC and what is to come next year.
To them, and to you, I say: Stress less, this is not the end- there are better things coming. For those who say “School is the best time of your life”, I agree and disagree. If the HSC is the best there is, then there is not much hope for the future. However there are some moments that us Senior Students will cherish forever. Like Study Rooms, Year Twelve privileges, teacher jokes, HSC memes and friendships that are made by mutual despair.
To those who are not doing the HSC yet, or have done the HSC in previous years, just remember that your pyscho friend, sibling or child is going through some pretty intense times. The HSC is pretty crazy and all consuming- and constantly reminding them that they need to study can potentially be a bad thing. My advice is: ask them to give you a time when they are free, shout them a coffee, take them to the movies or buy them some new highlighters (there is nothing better than some fresh highlighters to highlight the aspects of belonging in Blade Runner and Frankenstein.)
My fellow HSC buddies; if (or when) you are ready to give up, remember there are essays on the BoredofStudies website that will carry you through.
So good luck to my fellow HSC students, may the odds be ever in your favour.