Hindsight is a great thing and once I finished my final exams I realised a few things. Sure, they were things that people had been telling me all year but I didn’t realise how true they were until I finally walked out of my school hall with hundreds of my classmates for the very last time.

Now would come the days of waiting and freedom. Days of catching up on the movies, friends and life that we had missed while we pushed ourselves to get through exams.

Amongst it would come days of anxiety and fear and questions of what was I doing with my future and whether my marks would be enough.

But most of all I would experience days of clarity where I realised that my marks and the exams that I had spent months stressing over were not going to define the rest of my life.

1. Spend more time with friends

After graduation, final exams and formals I wish I had spent more time with my friends. More time watching movies together and laying around the house. More time in the car, singing our favourite songs and driving just because we could. More time going on adventures; road trips and exploring places that people posted photos of on insta.

More times taking silly selfies and tagging each other in stupid memes. More time trying to figure out how to get out of PE or Sunday mornings spent in bed hungover. More time at pool parties and beach afternoons on days when the sun made the top of your nose burn red.

2. The stress wasn’t worth it

The late nights, tears and missed sleep wasn’t worth it. All the panic attacks and anxiety that we hadn’t studied enough or crammed enough facts in our heads- a waste of time.

All the hours of stressing about the next thing that was due- the essay, the major work, the exam practice and the homework. The worrying about preferences and applications- it’s not worth it.

In the end you will find a way to be where you want to be.

3. You will always make it through

There will be days where you struggle to get out of bed in the morning. You will hit snooze until the very last minute and drag yourself out from under the covers, already planning the nap you will have when you get home later.

You will spend the day bleary eyed, struggle to understand whatever your Maths teacher is saying and imagine all the homework that’s piling up that you need to catch up on.

But the truth is you will make it through your best and worst days- the days where you spend all day laughing with your best friend and the days where you get so overwhelmed with everything that you can barely get out of bed.

4. You have to enjoy the little things

When we get so focused on getting through exams or cramming as much study in as possible, we forget to enjoy the little things.

We put off doing the things that make us happy because right now, we have to concentrate on studying, on getting through the next exam and finishing whatever is due.

When everything gets so hectic and stressful we put our heads down and push through it, take things day by day.

But after your final exam you’ll realise you shouldn’t set aside your favourite things; watch the movie that’s just been added to Netflix, read the book that’s been sitting on your desk for weeks and spend that weekend away.

Enjoy the little things that give you a break from the daily grind.

5. There is so much more ahead of you

People will tell you that there is so much more ahead of you after high school.  They will tell you that there is more to life than the bubble that is your classrooms but you won’t realise it until after you finish that last exam.

Once you put your pen down, your paper is collected and you can walk out of the hall at the same time as hundreds of other students, you’ll know that there is a whole world ahead of you that doesn’t care about whether you could remember a specific law or quote.

image credit: joexevers

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