Step into the mind of a Year 12 student

Diary Of A Year 12 HSC Student

Ever wondered what it would be like to read your friends journal while you’re in Year 12?

Meet our Anonymous Talent 100 Year 12 student who will be chronicling every week of her academic life as we head into the HSC. Let’s call her ‘A’ for short.

‘A’ will be giving you weekly insights as she steps into the world of the 2020 HSC Examinations, who is also taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh program. Between school, tutoring, Duke of Ed obligations, keeping a social life, hobbies and everything in between, let’s get into the groove of being a Year 12 student sitting the HSC!

Sunday November 10, 2019 (Week 1 & 2 of Year 12)

Year 12 has just begun, and so has my stress levels!

These past two weeks have been full of leadership events, excursions, and a giant pile of a constantly growing list of Mathematics homework – all of which has taken quite a toll on me, not gonna lie!

Morning classes have also begun (5:30am wakeup!), but, I am looking forward to the seventeen free periods each fortnight. This is going to be one interesting year. Countdown to our first HSC exams: 1 week.

Tuesday November 19, 2019 (Week 3 of Year 12)

Exams start next week (aka tomorrow as I write this), eeK. Slightlyyy stressed!

Other than a bunch of Mathematics revision, I’ve been trying not to neglect my co-curricular activities, where I am made an effort to:

Practice singing (I sing, by the way)

And go to dance class (for my gold Duke of Ed) which  have sort of helped in freeing my mind and de-stressing a little bit.

But other than that, the week flew by and suddenly, countdown to the first HSC exams: 1 DAY.

Sunday December 1, 2019 (Week 4 & 5 of Year 12)

Exams are FINALLY over, and so is school (nearly).

No one seems to be getting a break, as exams start rolling back in like 2 days after you’ve done it – marked and all.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my efforts, but I’m left with this overwhelming sense of exhaustion. Still, the grind doesn’t stop, and there’s Christmas events here and there, and then House Prefect roles to be done. But… countdown to holidays: 4 DAYS!!

Sunday February 9, 2020 (Term 2: Week 1 & 2)

Happy 2020!

Had a slow start to school due to the quarantine requirements for the coronavirus, but we are back and running. As soon as I got back to school, I was hit with a wave of notifications – that have me currently stressing. House Prefect duties have also kept me on my toes, with the upcoming Swimming Carnival, School Pride Week, and Year 7 Orientation-related events.

I feel like this term has hit much harder than Term 1 of Year 12… I can really start to feel the pressures of the HSC and I’m still trying to get out of my holiday moods. Planning out my days and keeping a checklist for homework has seriously helped me stay focused though – a tip! Let’s hope it gets better from here.

(P.S. I now have morning classes every day of the week RIP >:c)

Wednesday February 19, 2020 (Week 3)

Only 3 weeks in, and I’m already super duper sleep deprived – coffee has been my best friend this past week. I’ve just handed in my Science Extension ATB (Yay! that’s one down), though now I face the wave of music exams and assignments. A performance exam, composition and composition portfolio, and analysis of two pieces all in one week?! And barely two weeks notice.

On a more positive note, I’ve stayed committed to my co-curricular activities, and continue to full up my Duke of Edinburgh hours. I think I’m just over halfway?

I think from now on, I’ll do a study tip per week… the tip this week: sleep is IMPORTANT.

Sunday February 23, 2020 (Week 4)

Another busy week has passed. There were so many music exams/hand-ins this week, and so that’s what I’ve mostly been doing. I found that consequently, I feel behind in my Maths homework – I think I need to make better use of my free periods, to catch up on those exercises.

We also had our school carnival this week (!), which has also taken up some of my time (organising the relay teams, coordinating the synchro team trainings, etc), but the energy on the day was great to see. My focus for next week is definitely to get some more sleep, and to start working on some of my next assignments (due in Week 8), which might seem like a long time away but…

Study tip of the week: Start your assignments early so you have time to hand in drafts!

Sunday March 1, 2020 (Week 5)

No assessments this week! I planned to catch up on some work, especially Maths. I have a few exercises left, but recently I’ve just felt so unbothered and demotivated :/

Anyone else feel the same way? Unfortunately I got sick (no, not the Coronavirus), and so I really couldn’t do any work 🙁 This week we also had camp, which was a nice break. I realised just how tired I was from my lack of sleep and work load. I’m starting to consider the option of dropping an Extension subject – I have 12 units currently, with 4 extensions… ahh idk we’ll see.

Anyways tip of the week: (we learnt this on camp) Not all stress is bad – let it motivate you, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Breathe.

Sunday March 8, 2020 (Week 6)

Happy March! Time really does fly. This week I continued to toss us between dropping subjects, and asked teachers and past graduates on their opinions. The feedback I have received from past graduates is: if you don’t have the time (as Extension 2 Maths really does require a lot of time and practice), drop Extension 2, and if you dislike tests that you can’t really prepare doe, drop Extension Science.

Personally, due to my travel time to and from school, co-curricular and 5:30am wake ups, I found I did not have much time to do work, hence I considered dropping Maths. I thought: maybe if I could focus on perfecting my Mathematics and Maths Extension 1, it might benefit me more?

The coming week, however, I really need to put my focus in handing a draft for my English Extension 1 assessment ASAP.

My study tip of the week: Hand in drafts for feedback, or for Maths, keep asking questions, so you get the optimum help from teachers.

Sunday March 15, 2020 (Week 7)

A rather normal week. I started to write my draft narrative for English Extension (which I have handed in for feedback and am now editing).

Parent-teacher interviews were also on this week, and they were mostly positive; some emphasised sending in more sample works. I met our Dean of Learning one lunchtime to ask about his opinions on whether I should drop Extension 2 Maths or not.

He looked at past reports of high achievers and other statistics, and summarised that the top achievers had only done Extension 1 Mathematics or lower, meaning that dropping Extension 2 shouldn’t affect my ATAR as long as my other subjects remain at the level they are. He also said it would definitely help free up some time and stress, which I would 100% appreciate.

Still slightly struggling with de-motivation, but I found that keeping an updated checklist of your to-do’s in your planner really helps keep you on top of things, even if you feel like you’re falling behind. So I guess that’s my study tip of the week 🙂

Sunday March 22, (Week 8)

With all activities/committees/meetings and carnivals now cancelled because of Covid-19, truth be told, a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders.

Next week, the majority of exams start (Chemistry, Music, Math Ext 2), so this week was mostly spent trying to study for these upcoming exams. Eng Ext 1 was handed in this week, as well as our English Advanced draft essays.

This whole term, I’ve been generally demotivated, which as been negatively affecting me in terms of productivity. I’m getting more distracted, and I’ve been trying to combat it by using apps such as Forest, as well as sticking to my checklist methods that I mentioned previously. They’ve helped slightly – just enough for me to keep up with classes, so I would recommend trying them out if you’re struggling like me.

Sunday March 29, (Week 9)

Finished my first exam of the week – Chemistry practical. School has been moved online, starting Tuesday because of the Coronavirus. At first, it actually helped me stay productive – you could initiate your own breaks, and everyone was more focused.

But throughout the weeks, my old habits returned, and I started to feel no sense of urgency despite nearing deadlines for hand-in assessment tasks (just Eng Adv).

Staying at home every day, my phone productivity went up by 75%, evidently I keep getting distracted. My friends were also feeling the same way. My aim for next week, after handing in Eng Adv is to get out a bit more – for a walk or something.

My hypocritical study tip of the week: Prepare for exams/start hand-in’s earlier! Don’t repeat my mistakes, even if you’re equally unmotivated as me. Also wash your hands and social distance!

Monday April 6, (Week 10)

Final week!

It is starting to feel more and more like holidays. I’ve finally pushed myself to get productive, and made a list of all the things I wish to complete during my holidays. I started by getting rid of my distractions – placing time limits on apps (you can do this on your iPhone), and setting realistic tasks each day, allowing room for free time.

I’ve deliberately made goals for free time such as one hour of exercise, and one hour of music-related activities per day. It’s worked so far! I’ve discovered that setting some time to physically organise your work space, or living space in general, can help clear out your mind and make you feel more productive.

And at the end of each day, take some time out to list 2-3 things that you want to complete the next day. (That’s my study tip of the week!) Setting small goals each day, will feel less of a hefty workload than e.g. ‘finish this assignment tomorrow.’

Sunday May 3, (Week 1 – Term 3)

Online schooling has resumed and with a sudden rush of notifications, an exam block to make up for T1’s assessments, and an abundance of emails about new Carnivals/House competitions to organise… I felt my slack mode shut off out of panic.

My exam block is in Week 3, and with all the house duties, I’ve had to try and find a balance between leadership and study.

Ultimately in the end, I know my HSC is the priority. But with two sets of exams this term, plus a supposed 5 carnivals planned, it’s gone’be a busy term.

Sunday May 17 (Week 2 & 3 – Term 3)

Not much has happened these two weeks apart from more homework and study preparation for the exam block in Week 3.

I had my Maths Advanced, Maths Extension 1, Music Aural and Music Performance Exam, and generally, I would say this was a wake up call for me to get back in my study-hard mode.

We’re back in school full time in Week 4, so hopefully I can start fresh and renew my good habits. Thought I’m going to miss quarantine – all the sleep ins and warm mornings in bed.

Sunday May 25 (Week 4 – Term 3)

We are back on school grounds!

This transition from online learning to normal classes has been quite sudden. In Week 3, three grades were back on campus, and this week everyone is back.

Even though we’ve had weeks of online classes, it sort of feels like Week 1? After catching up with everyone, I’ve realised that we all feel the same way – a sense of uncertainty, and a bit of anxiousness. No one is feeling prepared, knowing that trials are just half a term away. In fact, there’s an underlying sense of fear and worry. I feel as if time was slowed down in the quarantine period, and now has clicked back into double speed.

Assessments were given back the same day that notifications were received, and past papers have been thrown at us from every direction possible. Even house meetings are more time consuming now – before we’d just plan it out and make a PowerPoint, but now scripts have to be written, a video made and edited, and many emails to be sent.

And whilst all this rush has forced me to be more productive, I still feel like I’m not doing enough or secure enough, knowing our HSC exams are soon.

Sunday June 7 (Week 5 & 6 – Term 3)

Quick overview – Exams start in Week 6, choral competition is in 2 weeks, and rehearsals are almost impossible to organise due to social distancing guidelines.

Everything has been a bit hectic lately, and I realised that it is not only the students who feel this way, but the teachers as well. These last two weeks have taught me the importance of communication, especially during a time where we are trying to adapt to the constantly changing news and COVID-19 guidelines. I found that staying proactive via emails and other modes of communication with other prefects, teachers and students has allowed me to stay on track with the newest updates, enabling me to organise and plan rehearsals or events efficiently.

My trick to staying organised and maintaining a balance between schoolwork and leadership, is to write everything down. A checklist method is generally my favourite way to make sure I get everything done. Also, writing important events and exam dates in a planner or calendar will help you visualise how much time you have left, and how you should organise your time. Regardless, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t one moment where I wanted to put everything down and give up. In fact, there have been many moments like these – I feel like the pacing of school has sped up so much in comparison to online schooling, that it’s almost tiring to stay on top of it all.

But it seems as if we are all in the same boat – I wonder if things will be easier next term?

Join us again next week for another entry from our Year 12 student!

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