So that’s it, you’ve done it.

You started out in Year 7 as a nervous little freshie–not sure what high school was going to be like and more worried about whether your besties from primary school were going to be with you and whether you could get away with non leather black shoes more than your marks.

You made new friends, a new squad of people who you spent every recess and lunch sitting in the quad with. You decided which seats were yours in each classroom and figured out how late you could be to roll call without the teacher marking you absent.

Slowly you go to know the names of the teachers and other kids in your year, even if you hadn’t spoken to them. You went through the fights and tantrums that come with settling into high school–arguments about who was friends with who and why someone didn’t get invited to hang out.

You got to settle. Bell times and class schedules became a part of your brain and even if you didn’t know what number classroom you were allocated to, you knew exactly where you were meant to be and when. At the beginning, people would tell you that high school goes in the blink of an eye and you didn’t believe it. Just getting through Maths on a Friday afternoon felt like it would take years, let alone making it to graduation.

Then, before you knew it things started getting serious. People were talking about careers and ATARs. Subject selections came out and you and your friends spent lunch times arguing about scaling and whether Advanced Maths or English was worth it. Teachers started asking the big questions–what do you want to do with your life? 

You started to get questions about what uni you were going to, what you expected your marks to be and how you thought you would rank. Assignments and essays started building up and teachers began demanding more and more home study just to keep up with the syllabus. Essays and practice exams were handed over (on the days you could actually do them) and returned with scribbled comments on how to get higher marks. The stress started to build.

Maybe it got to a point where you couldn’t take it anymore. Where studying and revision and the pressure all got too much. Maybe you stopped, gave yourself a break, broke down, cried and screamed. Maybe you pushed to memorise those essays so you could regurgitate them in your allocated three hours or maybe you chucked them in the bottom of your bag never to be looked at again.

Then, you got to the grand finale, the big game–your final exams. You sat down in that exam hall with a pen clenched in your hand and a sick feeling in your stomach. You wrote. You blanked on questions you knew you had learnt and shook your head at ones you know you had definitely never been taught in class. You willed top answers to come to you, and gave it your best shot when they didn’t.

And then, you finished. You put your pen down in your very last exam and realised that this was it. This was the end. You’d had your graduation, handed in all your assignments and finished your final exams. And as the seconds ticked down to when you could finally walk out of that hall you realised that the sick feeling in your stomach had finally disappeared.

An incredible weight had lifted off your shoulders and an intense feeling of relief replaced it. Maybe you will feel nervous or scared–after all, now your future is in your hands. But above all you will finally feel free. Sure, now you have to wait for you marks (and they will be coming vey soon). But there’s a sense of triumph that comes from getting it done regardless of how well you went.

That’s the thing–it doesn’t matter if you get an ATAR of 99.95 or a ‘mystery mark’. Finishing your final years of high school is an achievement in itself and despite all the confusion and fear, you will feel incredibly proud that you have made it through. You did it. Now, everything is up to you. You can choose what you want to do whether it be work or travel or studying or an apprenticeship. For the first time ever, you hold all the power.

Congratulations Year 12, you made it.

Our mates at the University of Canberra know that the next step can be confusing–especially if you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing next year. Which is why they’ve got you covered when it comes to picking a uni. Chuck your details in here, and they’ll help you sus out whether a uni will be right for you.