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The realities of being in Year 12 during a pandemic

By Jana Angeles

Year 12 is a milestone many of us go through but during these unprecedented times, individuals undergoing HSC this year have also needed to adapt to online learning; following certain rules and regulations while in lockdown and regularly checking in with the news to see if there are any changes regarding restrictions. 

No one anticipated this pandemic and it's certainly changed the way we live and unfortunately for those graduating high school this year, they've had to embrace this milestone a little differently to what individuals have experienced in the past.

So, what are the realities of being in Year 12 during a pandemic look like?

Your graduation ceremony will be done virtually.

Graduating high school is a momentous occasion because it marks a time in your life where you can validate your 13 years of schooling into one piece of paper. It also means you're on the journey to adulthood where you prepare for the next steps for your career. 

However, Year 12 students graduating in the year 2020 will be experiencing their ceremony a little differently. With NSW banning graduation ceremonies and school formals, a virtual graduation for the year is the "new norm".

Your plans for a gap year may have changed.

travel concept

Travel may have been in the cards for you where you've been excitedly making plans with friends for schoolies, planning an overseas trip to Bali or spending a week in the Sunshine Coast relaxing by the pool. However, with International Borders currently shut, overseas travel is unlikely to be considered before 2021 - with some already anticipating that travelling internationally may not return to normal until 2023. 

In an article published by SMH, Year 12 student George Pittar had plans to travel to Bali for schoolies and being a junior surfing champion, he also had several competitions booked in for overseas. Since the start of coronavirus, these anticipated trips have been cancelled. He mentions that the silver lining for him is that he gets to save money but he's disappointed that his original plans have gone out of the window.

You may be wondering what you could be doing during your gap year and while there's uncertainty when it comes to international travel, you can still do the following as alternatives:
  • Study an online qualification: if university is something you're not entirely sure about but you still want to take the opportunity to upskill, studying an online course with Upskilled is a great start. With a wide range of courses in business, community services and IT, you'll have the opportunity to develop relevant skills and knowledge in your chosen career pathway.
  • Travel domestically: While this is subject to change during the age of COVID-19 and depending on where you live, travel shouldn't be diminished from your plans. Australia has so many iconic landmarks and great cities that make for excellent tourist destinations. There's no shame in being a backyard explorer!
  • Pick up a short course: A short course is a great opportunity to upskill if you're not interested in committing to a year-long qualification. Not only does it help you sharpen your skillset but it gives you a chance to add a certification that may be useful to your career trajectory. For example, you may want a career in marketing so commiting to a short course in social media may give you a good foundation in working with campaigns within the digital space, which can be complementary if you plan on doing a degree in marketing. 

Studying online has become the norm.

Year 12 students have had to transition from face-to-face classes to studying online due to the coronavirus pandemic and many have struggled with this reality. Although online learning has definite perks, such as being able to upskill from home and studying at a pace that suits you, it has been tough to adjust accordingly for these young Australians. 

Zayd Arabiat told SMH that studying online was a challenge and felt that his learning was ineffective when it came to transitioning to online classes. He said, "The Zoom classes were not actually helpful, sometimes the teacher can't hear us, and we can't hear her." 

He continued, "It affected my maths. It's hard to study on my own. We had a test the first week back, and it was worth 10, 15 percent, but no one did that well because we were not ready for it, we did not understand the content."

Structure is important for Year 12 students, so studying online doesn't have to be difficult. Ensure that you have a positive mindset and are prepared when it comes to managing your time and priorities. Here are some helpful tips that may help you be productive when it comes to online study:
  • Block off periods of time and prioritise study during those hours. 
  • Take regular breaks and keep in touch with your teacher via email to clarify any questions you may have.
  • Collaborate with your friends and share notes with each other up until the HSC exams.
  • If you're feeling distracted, consider using productivity apps to help you manage your to-do lists and keep track of your studies.

Uncertainty is part of the deal 

teenage students undertaking exams

It's hard to predict what the next few months will entail considering the ups and downs that come with this pandemic. While students prepare for the upcoming final HSC examinations, there's no doubt that they may be feeling anxious about what that would look like in the near future. Many students place so much pressure in getting the marks they want in order to meet the entry requirements for a bachelor's degree but some quickly realise it may not be what they want at the time.

In an article published by Canberra Times, Year 12 Student Harry Briese anticipated to sit his exams but when the effects of the pandemic started to ramp up from mid-March onwards, the examination period turned into take-home assessments instead. He said, "It's a bit stressful not knowing exactly how we might be being taught in the future and also about the uncertainty of the actual HSC exams going ahead."

With HSC in a few months time, students may be getting ahead of themselves when it comes to knowing what they truly want in a career, however, it may be worth exploring other options and other alternative education pathways. 

If you're after something flexible and not ready to commit to a full degree, studying a nationally-recognised qualification with Upskilled may be the best option. Online education is flexible and you can study anywhere, anytime. Plus, it's an opportunity to undertake something different from your peers who may be following the university route. It's worth exploring what qualifications the industry you plan on working in and seeing if you need a degree in the first place.

Consider studying with Upskilled as your next step after Year 12 

With the pressures of HSC exams as well as trying to keep up with the fluctuations that come with the pandemic, it may be time to re-think your options for study. While studying at a university comes with a prestigious title, if you want a course that can help you prepare for the workforce, consider studying an online course with Upskilled. 

As most courses have a duration of 12 months, you could have a qualification that can set yourself up for a great future in terms of your career. Get in touch with the team on 1300 009 924 and enquire about a course today! 
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*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.