By Kaitlin Pauly Year 12
Disclaimer: these answers are not going to apply to everyone’s experiences because I only have what I learnt and what I gained from my time in year 12. I do hope that this helps a lot of you, whether you are a student or a teacher in gaining an insight into the mind of a year 12 student.
1) Is Year 12 hard?
Yes, and no. For me personally I found the jump from year 10 to year 11 harder than the change to year 12. I think this is because the preliminary course mirrors year 12 but is vastly different to year 10. With year 11 you only have 3 terms, which are also jammed with other commitments such as Loreto Day and changing roles in regards to leadership. Year 11 also came with studies (free periods) and more freedom with subject choice. I think the hardest part was staying on top of the work load because it can get overwhelming at times and I definitely felt exhausted by the end of each term. However, year 12 was easier to adjust to but there are also some challenges that come with the final year. The hardest part of year 12 I found was maintaining motivation. It’s easy for girls to burn out during year 11 because it is the first step of your senior studies so when it comes to the following year it can be hard to maintain momentum. As strange as it sounds though, I found I was more relaxed and less stressed in year 12, which I know isn’t true for everyone but I would say it is due to the fact I was more familiar with the expectations before me.
2) Is there any pressure being in Year 12?
Again this is a very subjective answer so this will not apply to all students. I think it is natural to feel pressure in year 12 and it is justified. We spend years hearing about the achievements of past students and seeing them reach academic success in their studies. Although it isn’t done on purpose there is unconsciously a pressure associated with this because you can find yourself questioning your abilities in this time. For me though my biggest pressure came from myself. I am someone who does stress and it is not always a bad thing. However, stress can be bad and as someone who places a lot of pressure on myself I can tell you that sometimes you have to take a step back and give yourself a break and NOT feel guilty. I use to think, and I will be honest sometimes I do still believe that certain marks mean success. But this is the driving cause to the pressures I felt and feel. So be easy on yourself. Take it from a solid stress ball. Walk into each exam telling yourself it is just another assessment and that you know more than you think. Because it is and you do.
3) How do you balance school life and social life?
Find a system that works for you. Never rely on how your finds structure their days or what other people tell you. Only you know what works for you and what doesn’t. For me I first had to figure out when I worked best and where. I know that I am not someone who can go to school and then work right away when I get home. I usually start working around 5pm and finish work at 9pm. Again this is not what everyone will do and definitely varies depending on the day and other commitments. I don’t have a set structure and have to be open to flexibility. I will do the majority of my work Monday to Thursday afternoons and I take Friday afternoons off. One because I am usually tired by the end of the week and two, I know it is a time when my friends are also not busy so I make the effort to save this time for social activities. As well as this I either take Saturday or Sunday off. For me this works well. But it is important to not have your head in your books all the time. I promise, having a laugh with your friends is way better for your wellbeing then trigonometric ratios or ‘One Night the Moon’ (standard students will understand).
4) How do you pick your subjects for senior years?
Pick what you enjoy. So many girls pick subjects that they think will help them get into a course or better their chances of doing well. It’s really not worth it. I fell into this and ended up changing subjects as a result. The way I see it, if you pick the subjects you enjoy you will do better in them because you will be motivated to do your work and participate in lessons.There is no point in picking a subject that you know you won’t enjoy just because it may help your choices in the future because if your course is based on biology and you don’t like biology, newsflash you probably won’t like that course.
I used to want to be a psychologist but I didn’t end up enjoying science, but that is just me. Instead of taking my own advice I chose biology. Safe to say it was not a subject I carried through with. However, I really enjoyed social sciences and as a result found an interest that branched from these subjects which helped me find what I want to do when I finish school. Not every subject is suited to every person, others were different to me and loved the sciences. Just pick what works best for you.
5) What scares you the most about leaving? Are you scared?
What scares me most is the loss of routine and constant support of so many people. For 13 years you spend Monday to Friday in a learning bubble. And to think in a couple of days I’ll be ‘free’ from this structure is daunting (but low-key excited to spend my Monday mornings in bed). The other scary thing is knowing that I am in a way on my own. I won’t have someone following up my actions, telling me when to have things in or telling me to do them. It will be up to me. In my head I still feel 10. But there are moments when I do feel ready to leave. Finishing course content is one of the times I know I’m done. My teachers have given me all the knowledge I need, now all that’s left to do is study it. Possibly the scariest thing is the reality that I won’t be in close contact with the girls I’ve shared my Loreto experience with. For me especially I have become close friends with many borders and I am scared that distance and new starts will change these relationships. It is scary because these girls are your friends and do become your best support. They know what you’re going through because they are in the same boat. The thought of not having all of these girls around when I need a cry or a laugh is a feeling of loss and it is something that I know will be a challenge. But it is also a test of true friendship. Those who are meant to be in your life will always be in your life and I am comforted by this.
6) What is the best lesson you have learnt during your time at Loreto?
Well I’m not sure if I learnt this from Loreto but I do apply it to my life at Loreto. My best life lesson is that everything happens for a reason. I tell myself this when I receive bad news and when I receive good news. I am genuinely happy at where I am but that does not mean it has been smooth sailing. There will be moments of weakness but you have to tell yourself that maybe the timing was not right. Whether it was receiving a mark back that you weren’t expecting, making mistakes, relationship breakdowns and other challenges there is always a positive. You may not see it at first but later you will realise it. For me, my first english exam in year 11 I cried half way through (sorry Mr Stitt). The question threw me and I couldn’t think straight in that moment and I remember leaving that room worried about my performance. Now I look at it and laugh because I can see the progress I have made. My next exam I didn’t cry and I improved my mark. I look back at this and see that I needed this moment to realise that I had put a lot of pressure on myself and as a result I could change how I approached my work and now I can say I have not cried through any other exams. How good!
Finally, I just want to thank all the people who have made this past 6 years so eventful and full of so many memories. I can truly say our grade is a very loving and generous group and I am so happy and grateful to have shared my experience with such incredible girls.