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Redefining Year 12

By Carys Brown

We get it! No matter how much advice an ex year 12 student, parent or teacher may give you about the Big Year, they never really get it, do they? Perhaps it's better to hear from our very own Carys Brown. She, just like You, is taking on year 12 as we speak.

In the lead up to beginning year 12, everyone tells you just how hard the next year is going to feel. From teachers telling us how difficult the year ahead of us will be; to parents reiterating the importance of studying, and, even, past Year 12 students telling us how stressful school becomes. It seems as though the stress of Year 12 looms over us months in advance to actually beginning the year. As a current Year 12 student, I want to challenge my fellow 2022 graduates to redefine the notorious year of “stress,” to one of health and balance.

Evidently, the statistics support the feelings of pressure and anxiety felt by students in their final year of school and certainly doesn’t paint a picture of a happy and relaxed Year 12 life. A government review in 2015 conducted in Sydney found that of the 722 students surveyed, 42% registered high-level anxiety symptoms. As stated in “The Conversation”, out of all the students, 16% reported extremely severe levels of anxiety, while 37% registered above-average levels of stress.

From ATAR students feeling the pressure to perform in their final exams or the overwhelming workload leaving them feeling panicked, the consequences of the HSC are being felt by students all over Australia. However, perhaps my naivety has led me to believe that my Year 12 experience doesn’t need to be one of stress and struggling. Maybe, we don’t need to spend our time hidden away in our rooms studying for the year or crying over our maths homework. Or, at the very least, we don’t need to enter the year

expecting to feel stressed and almost manifesting its presence within our studies.

The Power of a Positive Mindset

With the power of a positive mindset, Year 12 students can ensure they are productive and study-effective fiends. Let's agree, that there are better measures that we can approach Year 12 with that don’t include sleepless nights just dreaming of an overwhelming workload.

There is a myriad of techniques we can interweave into our year to ensure we are on top of everything we need to be. By defining the year as one of health and success, we eliminate pre-empting bad feelings, and, instead, promote productive systems or a routine sleep schedule. Of course, we all know the typical “study - hacks” that cover a healthy diet, sleeping and, as always, drinking your water. However, let's delve deeper into ways we can find balance amongst the chaos.


I know, this seems as though this tip is verging on becoming cliché. However, practising breathing deeply and clearing your thoughts on just a few mornings can do wonders for your mindset, setting intentions for the day or finding a little bit of calmness during the times of the year when everything is getting a little hectic. If you are like

me, and clearing your mind is difficult to do when sitting still, give some yoga a try. Just stretching out and breathing with the movements of your body will help you to find some clarity.

Casual Magic

Now we are getting to the good stuff. You may have heard of the concept of casual magic before; and if you haven’t, it will sound a lot stranger than it really is. It is simply the act of finding meaningful or unusual moments throughout the day that you can feel gratitude for or gain a sense of appreciation for life around you. We are all about these positive vibes this year, so focussing on finding magical moments throughout the day will do wonders for your mindset. With positivity, we are more likely to feel energised and motivated to be productive.

Create an Exciting Study Space

If we know that we will be spending a lot of time at our desks, why not make it enjoyable? Spend time tidying and decorating your space. Splurge a little on the fancy designer binders or get yourself some candles: in the words of Marie Kondo, spend energy on things that “spark joy.” If your study space is becoming repetitive or uninspiring, change study spaces. Libraries or cafes can be great alternatives when your desk doesn’t motivate you to get into the zone.

Make Studying Easier for Yourself

We all know the saying, “work smarter, not harder.” Studying effectively is more time-efficient and worthwhile than flogging yourself at your desk doing five hours of unfocussed notes- we all know this by now. However, studying effectively is a vague concept, especially when you are not too sure how to even start. Well, experimenting with a range of different resources is a guaranteed way to gain a variety of resources and methods of making studying easier on yourself. A great example of how different resources helps is the content featured of the ATAR Survival Guide, (a shameless self-advertisement, I know) but truly, having notes summarised by other top achieving students for you, not only saves you time but is a worthwhile use of your energy and effort.

Keep Your Balance

When we associate Year 12 with stress, we lose track of all of the other things that will make up our year. In the process of redefining the negative connotations of Year 12, we should associate the year with feelings of freedom and opportunity. You are the leaders of the school, you may be able to drive, find deeper connections with the teachers you have now known for years, or maybe you have a school ball or a special graduation party to look forward to. Even simpler, you should maintain a well-rounded life this year; socialise with friends, keep your job and invest in your sports or hobbies. The most important thing you can leave this year with is not an ATAR mark, but the unique experiences that high school can offer.

Year 12’s! Let's enjoy this year by making a positive start and reinforcing good habits into our routine to ensure we have a clear mindset that will allow us to tackle anything that is thrown our way. Whenever you may be reading this article, I wish you all an amazing start, middle or end to the year!

Yours truly.

Carys Brown

Hope these tips have bought you some guidance! Good luck out there and if you have any tips you would like to share, email me at!

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