Your final years of high school aren’t always the best. You’re dealing with a lot of shit in the form of exams and essays, pimples, break ups and parents and teachers asking you what you want to do after you graduate.

Sometimes, it all gets too much and all you can do is lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. Sometimes, all you can do is cry before an exam and think about all the things you didn’t study, and don’t know and hope that they don’t show up in question one. Sometimes, it’s hours sitting and staring at a blank page on the screen, willing yourself to write something, anything, about the novel you read in English so that you can finish the essay and go to bed. Sometimes it’s still sitting there, hours later and after everyone else has gone to sleep, barely a hundred words into the thousand word limit.

But sometimes, your final years of school are some of the best moments of your life.

During your final years you finally understand how it feels to have your school life pass in the blink of an eye. It feels like only yesterday you walked into high school for the first time, massive back pack on your shoulder and brand new black leather school shoes to start the year. The end is in sight, mere months standing between you and freedom rather than years. You’re so close you can almost touch it and there’s nothing like being able to see the finish line to motivate you to push through the home stretch.

You’ll get your first real taste of freedom. You’ll have study periods where you can do whatever you want from actually studying to laying around with your friends complaining about how much work you have to do. You and your mates all finally get your licences and can go places without having to rely on mum or dad to cart you there and back. You can go on the cliché late night adventures for Maccas runs and Kmart trips.

You’ll experience some things for the last time in your life. Your last school photo, swimming carnival and sports day. It’s bittersweet knowing that it’ll be the last time you sing your sport house chant, or that this will be the final photo you’ll take with your entire grade but there’s something about it that makes it feel more real than it ever did before.

Although super stressful at times, planning what you’re going to do once you get out those school gates can be one of the best parts of your last years at school. You can get excited for finally ditching all the classes you hate (General Maths I’m lookin’ at you) and get ready for studying something you’re actually interested in. You can book in flights for overseas trips and find places to camp overnight if you’re planning on trekking around Aus. You can plan your gap year, write packing lists and pay off bookings that have been sitting there for months.

If you can’t look that far ahead just yet, at the very least you’ll be able to look forward for that time straight after graduation before anything actually starts to happen. The perfect period for sleep, catching up on Netflix and trips to the beach with your friends before you have to start being an adult.

Finishing high school is stressful, yeah. And once you’re outta there you’ve got a whole heap of other things to stress about. But at the same time, it’s your last hurrah, a final goodbye and fuck you to the place you’ve been for the best part of the last six years and there’s something pretty damn special about that.