A reflection by Zara Oong
My sister Katie’s graduation is on Friday. It seems like just moments ago that my eldest sister, Natalie, graduated. That was three years ago. My twin, Chloe and I, are each one of four girls, all of whom have attended Loreto from Natalie’s beginning here at the school in 2011. The sudden realisation that Katie will be gone, and that the years of schooling we have shared together will soon be a memory has led me to contemplate what is in store for me, and to be honest it is absolutely terrifying!
This year seems to have flipped a switch on the level of maturity we are expected to have, with the teachers constantly dropping the “You’re going to be senior students next year” bomb. We, as a Year 10 cohort, will be faced with the expectation of a heightened level of responsibility in preparation for next year. The change in uniform is not only a physical change, but a metaphorical change in the level of responsibility we are expected to exhibit. The process has already started with our subjects for the next two years already chosen. In choosing the subjects that we will be studying for the HSC, the next two years of our lives are already mapped out. The road to the golden moment of graduation, the closing the book on the end of an era in our life, has begun. Knowing that Year 12, and especially the HSC, is imminent is frightening. I honestly have no idea what to expect, so I can only draw on the experiences that my sisters have described and go into the coming years with an open mind.
What’s next after we graduate? The words “real world” come to mind. But, what is that really? It is a concept that is often tossed around when discussing “big” and “life-changing” events that occur throughout our lives. What has struck me most with this idea is the notion of the ever-changing workforce in the world today; a world and work environment in which the younger generations are projected to obtain 12-15 jobs over their lifetimes. Changes in the sought-after employee characteristics are moulding the shape of the workforce that we are moving towards. A shift is occurring from easily obtainable and teachable skills to soft-skills, such as people, social and communication skills, as well as character or personality traits, attitudes, social intelligence and emotional intelligence. Additionally, the workforce is now extremely educated, making finding a job incredibly difficult, even with a degree. This is supplemented with the age of retirement growing exponentially. The current age of retirement in Australia is 65.5 years old and is expected to rise to 67 by July 2023. This is resulting in the younger generations missing out on job opportunities as vacancies are taken by the exceedingly more experienced people that already work in their profession.
The idea that we are going to university and searching for jobs in the changing workforce of today is kind of scary, but that is still a few years away.
With graduation around the corner, reality is setting in and the whole concept of the next few years is a bit daunting.
I will just have to keep my mind open and look forward to the change!