Starting your final year in high school can be a damn daunting thing for everyone, especially in these early stages. You’ve just seen the grade above you go through what looked like a freakin’ gauntlet, and you have no idea how you’re gonna respond to it. Luckily for you, we have a stash of stats and stories that will help paint a picture of what to expect in the upcoming year.

(P.s. if you’ve ever filled out one of our surveys, then this is the result of all that awesome information you provided, and so is our After The ATAR Report).

1. You’re gonna feel the pressure

When it comes to schooling, 96% of students are feeling pressured – to study, to succeed, to make decisions about their futures. But it might not be from the place you expect. When we asked students where they were receiving the most pressure from, only 27% said they were feeling the heat from their parents, and 9% from their school. Most students – 54% of them – were feeling the pressure from themselves. So, while it’s good to have goals and motivation, just make sure you give yourself a break once in a while!

2. It’ll be stressful

It’s a simple equation: when pressure increases, so too do stress levels. In fact, when asked to pick the range of emotions that best describe how they felt/are feeling about Year 12, 70.6% of high school students selected ‘stressed’, followed by 65.5% of students that felt ‘anxious’. You have to go down to the bottom half of the statistics to find any happy feels here – only 30.4% of students felt ‘excited’, and a dismal 10% felt ‘inspired’.

3. There are ways to combat it

So, with stress as a given this year, what becomes more important are your strategies and coping mechanisms to make sure you don’t end up permanently in the foetal position. According to you guys, 59% of you combat stress through music, 45.1% with friends, and 39.9% with sport and exercise.

The biggest takeaway here is that you need to find time to blow off steam, too. An extra hour of sleep can be more beneficial than an extra hour of study, and hanging out with your mates and listening to music can be a good way to reset and make sure the next day of hitting the books is productive. Even if you don’t think you’re the sporty type, it’s just plain research-based fact that exercise improves thinking skills and staves off nasty depressive thoughts. Find any kind of movement you enjoy, whether it be competitive kitchen dancing or extreme eye-rolling, and use it to beat that stress down to submission.

4. Your parents are an asset

Despite what some of you might think about your parents, they are in fact a valuable resource of ancient wisdom and years of experience, and it would be best to continue making use of this. In fact, you guys told us that your parents/caregivers are where most of you get their trustworthy career advice from (48%). So don’t feel like can’t ask them for help – that’s what they’re there for.

5. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing

It’s easy to get caught up in feeling lost this year, and to think that everyone’s got it figured it out but you. But don’t trust your insta feed – when we asked students what they want to do after school, an overwhelming 43.2% of them said they still have no idea. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing next year and let’s be real – even if you have settled on a plan it may change in the next couple of years.


Header image: @benlaver_


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