Now hear me out. I’m not saying that Year 12 isn’t stressful, chaotic and confusing.

But when my Year 11 English teacher told me it was going to be without a doubt ‘the hardest year of my life,’ I was buckling up and preparing for the absolute worst.

But honestly, it was a slight overreaction.

Yes, the workload is heavy, the content confusing and the teachers will probably put a tonne of pressure on you. Essays will be painful to write, you’ll get hand cramps and sometimes you’ll be so tired that all you can think about is when you’ll be able to have a nap. You’ll cram your head with quotes, historical dates and equations only to get into your exams and forget it all.

But Year 12 is about more than all this; it’s about more than just studying.

It’s about the bond your year level makes, one that’s built around the fact that everyone is experiencing the exact same anxiety as you about the upcoming exams. There’s something about knowing you’re all in it together that helps makes you feel just a little less worried. Whatever happens, you’re all going to come out the other side.

It’s about celebrating all the 18ths , and trust me, there’ll be a lot of them. It’s about drinking too much and telling your friends how much you love them. It’s about watching your best friend light up when they ace a test and it’s about being there for them when they flunk their Maths exams.

It’s about formal; being able to get dressed up, take cheesy photos together and pretend that exams don’t exist. It’s about thinking you’ll never escape the never-ending pile of homework on your desk and then realising that it’s your last day of school and you’re going to miss this place more than you’d ever be willing to admit.

At times it may seem unbearable. But, if you take a step back and appreciate the little things, you’ll likely realise that even though it’s one of the toughest years of your academic life so far, it’s also one of the best.

Am I feeling a little nostalgic now that Year 12 is over and I’ve finished with school? Definitely.

But I’ve realised that amongst all the stress, tears and breakdowns, I made some pretty good memories throughout Year 12 and if I’d taken a second to step back and appreciate them, I probably would have realised that Year 12 is about more than just doing your exams. It’s about more than test scores, class marks and state rankings.

Right now it might be hard to realise it but, as shitty as Year 12 is, there’s some absolute gems that’ll come your way throughout the year. Enjoy them.

by Amy Greer