Okay so the homework is almost done, the uniforms are almost out and soon you’ll be the graduating class of the infamous year 2020. Honestly, I don’t envy you. You guys have had it rough. The biggest thing that happened in my final year was a couple of guys got suspended for bringing a cow onto campus. There was nothing like a global pandemic to mess with my study schedule.
But in good news – you’re almost at the finishing line and I can guarantee you’ll likely never work as hard as you have this year ever again. Anyway, I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE GOING TO BE OKAY and EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE.
I know you’re probably stressed out, dangling on the precipice of one stage of life, but honestly, the best is yet to come. Here’s why:
Your score does not define you
Let’s get this straight – an ATAR score does not a person make. I got a 96.9 and I thought it would look soooo good on my resume and come in soooo handy in grown-up life. But honestly, I’ve been asked approximately ZERO TIMES about my exams score. I’d be lying if I said my ego wasn’t crying out for some attention, but the thing is your ATAR just isn’t that big of a deal.
There are so many other routes you can take after high school. You could go directly into the workforce, you could get some culture overseas or you could jump on the higher education train at places like Open Universities Australia where your ATAR isn’t a barrier to entry. In fact, they’ve got a heap of subjects from leading Australian unis that you can enrol in and study online with no entry requirements at all. If studying online isn’t your thing, you don’t have to do your whole degree through them.
In other words, you can start studying exactly what you want and transfer to study on-campus at the uni you wanna do it at once you’ve shown you can handle the degree. You’ll likely also cop a credit for the work you’ve already done, so it’s not like an extra-long degree or anything like that.
Your real friends are waiting for you
This is not to say that your high school friends aren’t real friends. They are, and if you love each other enough then one day you’ll blink and all of a sudden everyone is 30 and popping out small humans. But you’re also going to make new friends. Adult friends. The friends that you choose because you genuinely like them, not because you were born in the same high school district.
You’ll collect your adult friends like a hungry toddler at Easter, finding them at different jobs, clubs, trips and random nights out. You’ll meet them through friends of friends and you’ll discover a whole new group of people who are into the exact same things as you. And it’s the best.
The rest of your life can be a schoolies trip if you really want it
You’re a grown-up now. You make your own life choices. If you’re absolutely fuming because COVID killed your Gold Coast schoolies trip – stop stressing. You can gather the gang, book the flights, stock up on supplies and live your best schoolies life anytime you want.
Hell, you could jump on a plane next year and spend the rest of your existence kicking it through Europe and South America, Asia and the States if you really wanted.
You don’t have to go to a traditional uni
You heard me! You don’t have to go to a traditional uni with strict attendance and hectic timetabling and ridiculous orientation weeks. Higher education has gotten smart (ahem, hello Open Universities Australia) and you can now upskill with short courses, or choose more flexible online study options with leading unis. This is your education and you’ve got a right to make it work for you.
Do you want to earn some cash and study part-time? Consider it done. Do you want to get a feel for architecture before you dive right in? Why not do a design short course. And sure, we know online learning in Year 12 has been really difficult, but high school isn’t intended to be that way. When you do a course that’s actually designed for online learning, it makes SO much difference.
The world is your informative oyster, little one. Go out and shuck it all.
You’ll do a heap of different jobs and that’s called life experience
Gone are the days of settling into a steady 9-5 plus salary packaging and waking up 25 years later having done nothing else. Nowadays we like to job hop. We like to test the waters. We like to find the perfect education/employment fit.
So don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what you want to be when you grow up. You’ll get there. And that journey is genuinely half the fun. You gotta learn to love the twists and the turns because the alternative is boring as hell.
You never have to join another team sport unless you really, really want to
Ignore this if you love sports. You can carry on playing sport to the end of your days for all I care. This is for all my people who dragged their feet to the oval and conveniently “forgot” their gym gear every week. I’ve got good news for you guys – the torment is over. You’ll never have to sign up for another volleyball team or athletics carnival, endure another swim meet or do another beep test. You’re welcome.
You can sign your own permission slips now
In fact, you can sign for the rest of your life. You’re free. It’s worth giving yourself some time to figure out what direction you’d like to head in, what person you’d like to become. But the good news is you’ve now got the autonomy to make your own decisions.
Don’t be afraid of that power! Bask in it! We live in a country where the options are endless and they’re at our fingertips.
Enjoy it – and welcome to your new life.Image: Lady Bird