Knowing When It's Okay to Chill Out During Year 12!

June 14, 2021grusha

That is the question. And the answer? Relax!

I know, I know, this is a controversial topic to bring up among year 11 and 12 students. These are two very big years for you; you should be working hard, acing all your SACs, aiming to get an outstanding ATAR, pleasing your teachers and parents. You’ll consider taking a break in December.

This time twelve months ago I thought exactly the same thing. All I’d want to do each afternoon was come home from school, have something to eat and watch some TV. But of course I couldn’t; I had heaps of homework to do and SACs to study for, an amazing ATAR to achieve. So I’d cry and feel even worse, forcing myself to be disciplined and hit the books

This went on until, one afternoon when I was lying on my bed, half-napping, half-crying, my older sister gave me a reality check: at the end of the year, was I going to look back on the year and regret those times when I took a break or was I going to think, “Yeah, okay, that was fair enough”?

Year 11 and 12 are hard because, even when you get a little bit of time to relax from school work, you feel guilty for not putting it towards study. I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t. I know how it feels, especially when everyone else at school is saying that they’re doing ten hours of study every night, and you’re burning out after one or two. First of all, when people say that, they’re almost always exaggerating. It’s no reason to freak out and start comparing yourself to others. We’re all different in how we study and what works best for us.

Often, quality beats quantity. Prioritise up to four subjects a night, spend a focused twenty minutes on each and then you can relax for the rest of the evening. Read or go for a run or draw a picture – whatever you feel like doing.

High school is all about time management. That’s not just managing when you’re going to work on each subject every night; it’s also important to factor in when you’re going to have some time-out. For instance, if you love House Rules as I do, then, okay, four nights a week you’re going to put the books away and watch TV from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. If you have a week without SACs, but know it’s going to be full-on down the road, get started on the hardest things now, but also take advantage of the lull. Make yourself a cup of tea, chat to your siblings and parents. If you’ve had a rough day or you’re just really not feeling up to it, don’t beat yourself up over taking a night off. Take it from someone who knows: this will not affect your ATAR. You never know – next week you might be feeling really motivated and get more done than you expected.

Most importantly, live in the moment. Nothing is more detrimental than stressing about studying during your break, and wishing you could take a break when you’re studying, instead of focusing on the task at hand. If you find that you can’t relax because there’s too much on your mind, go do a small task, like running through your cue cards, to give yourself peace of mind. If you find your concentration drifting when you’re doing that practice SAC or writing up those notes, get up, take a quick shower or get a snack, and then you can return to your work refreshed.

Looking after your grades means looking after yourself. Put in as much effort as you can and do your best (NB: this is different for everyone!). If you ever find that you’re feeling especially stressed, take a deep breath and ask yourself: “Will this matter in five years?” Whatever it is, I can tell you now, the answer will be no.

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