11-08-2021 11:49 AM - edited 11-08-2021 11:54 AM
Today marks the first day of year 12 exams for students in NSW, and other states already have end of year exams underway.
It's been an especially challenging year for Year 12 2021, with the disruptions of COVID impacting their last 2 years of schooling. They've had to navigate learning from home, the loss of normal routines, and navigate the constant uncertainty of the last 2 years. We know that Year 12 students can feel a huge amount of pressure around achieving a certain result, especially if they're wanting to go on to further study.
ReachOut have developed a range of resources to help parents support their young people at exam time:
Helping your teen with study stress during coronavirus
Stories about what happens after high school
7 tips for managing exam stress
It can be really helpful for young people (and their parents and carers) to think more broadly about life after Year 12 results come out - and hear from other young people about the different paths they've taken after high school. A lot of young people may feel that their final result will determine the future path of their lives and careers- but in reality, there's often so many different pathways available, and "success" can mean many different things.
We recently had a discussion on our Online Community for Young people around redefining pathways to success, with two of ReachOut's Youth Ambassadors - as a parent myself, I found it really useful to hear young peoples' perspectives on what success looks like to them, and how they've navigated early adulthood.
If you think this might be helpful for young people in your life, you can read the full chat here.
Some key take aways from the discussion were the importance of self compassion, being open minded about the different paths you can take, and not comparing yourself to other people, or measuring yourself by other people's definition of success.
Some of our favourite quotes from the chat are below:
"work at your own pace. There is such pressure to study full time and work full time and for some, that’s totally achievable and that’s great. But for others there are too many other aspects of life they are trying to juggle and so some-times working part-time and studying part-time, or even just focusing on one of the other can be the way to go. Something I’ve learnt is not to compare yourself to others. Focus on what you can handle, and what is safest and most comfortable for you. I personally felt dropping back the hours I worked and studied was the best for me as it reduced my anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint."
"But success and satisfaction are both in the eye of the beholder. You can be 100% satisfied with your life but not what others perceive as “successful” and you can also be thriving and unhappy. I think happiness is key. Life is long and full of hardship and I want to live my best life, even if others think I haven’t lived it to the status quo. For me travelling makes me the happiest. When I can do that again, that for me will be success and satisfaction!"
You both sound really successful! As someone who was really successful in school my mental health has made me go 'offtrack' in hitting a lot of life milestones 'in time'. Have you guys ever felt like this, or what do you think of the idea of life milestones in today's society?
For me I grew up feeling like life was prescribed for me - go to school, go to university, graduate, find a job, buy a house, find a partner etc.
What I realised since finishing high school is that there is no age or time you need to get anything done by. I am lucky to be in a job that gives me purpose, but I am still figuring things out for dating and relationships.
Everyone goes through life at their own speed and where you are in life right now is exactly where you are meant to be. Milestones are what you want them to be. You can achieve them at whatever time is right for you.
we all run our own race. I try to remind myself of this regularly. You are still achieving goals even if it looks different to others. Whilst I’m not yet in my career of choice, nor married, or whatever else people consider “successful” I have done a lot of mental health advocacy and overcome incredible mental health obstacles. I have travelled, am studying and I am where I need to be. Working on your mental health counts for a lot.
We are surrounded by constant posts of people doing, achieving, or talking about their “success”. It’s hard not compare yourself but I tend not buy into that so much. I have learnt that everyone goes through life at their own pace. There is no rush.
I aim to live my life the best way I can.
I surround myself with family and friends that support and motivate me.
In turn, I support my friends and family to succeed in whatever way they want to.
Success is what you make it out to be!
We would love to hear from you:
How are you and your young people coping with the end of year stress?
How has your young person navigated working out their plans for the future? Do they feel a lot of pressure around exams and school results?
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