Hundreds of thousands of Year 12 students are considering their futures as their final year results are released around the country this week. Recently, 16-year-old Jake Rohald put our campaign There’s Life After Year 12 Exams into his own words and has this advice for school-leavers.
What do you want to do when you leave school? The answer to the question might start with three letters – H, S, C – but it doesn’t end there.
Getting your high school certificate is like some magical, promised land where all of us have dedicated 13 years of school to studying, learning and regurgitating fact after fact in order to reach the holy grail of the 99.95 ATAR. Why this fascination with such a number? I mean, after all it is just a number. An arbitrary value used to differentiate the supposed intellect of each of us, but our HSC result doesn’t guarantee success in the future.
Don’t get me wrong, HSC is important. You learn vital skills for the future like time management, multi-tasking, and even how to learn. However, being a student who’s currently halfway through the process, I’m beginning to understand there’s as much to learn from the HSC as there is to learn for it.
Success isn’t impossible if you don’t get that high ATAR. Whether it’s 99.95, 82.35, or 64.30 – they’re all just numbers. But each of these numbers forms part of one of a number of avenues to success, and such success enables each of us to change the world in our own way.
There are heaps of alternative options if the marks you need are not met – like bridging courses, TAFE and overseas study – all of which are just as rewarding. They might be a slight deviation off the path you wanted, but you’re just as likely to succeed – in your own way.
A friend of my family is testimony to this. When he didn’t get the entry marks needed to attend a top university, he decided to enroll in a business course at TAFE. Fast-forward 10 years to today and he’s running a chain of successful furniture stores across Sydney.
High school is all about learning, and a part of the learning process is making mistakes and sometimes even failing. Going into the HSC, I’ll try to do my best and get the best marks possible, but I understand that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t do well.
There is a whole world beyond the ATAR – but it doesn’t depend on your ATAR. At the end of the day, I know that the people around me, my friends and family, will still be there for me, supporting me however things turn out. I’d like to think that’s true of everybody else, too.
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