The Daily Juggle
The Daily Juggle
How to survive the HSC
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A year ago yesterday my oldest son sat the first of seven HSC exams. It was the culmination of a year of stress (mostly mine) and three weeks of all-night cramming.
He had two exams that first day and although I knew he was ready, I still feared he mightn't get the results he needed. It's an extraordinary amount of pressure for a teenager and his parents to go through. When you're in the thick of it you can be fooled into believing that the end of the world is imminent.
In the 12 months prior to the momentous occasion - day one of the Higher School Certificate, we left no stone unturned. My son attended talks about the exam where the calculation of the ATAR (the ranking that determines if students get into their chosen course) was explained. All that did was make us anxious. He went to the Open Days of each of the universities he was considering. That only made him more concerned that he wouldn't get in. The University of Sydney offered extra courses in exam strategies which my son attended on his weekends and school holidays. I believe that was money well spent but the more he learned the more he felt he didn't know.
There will be thousands of students who have done the same this year. The HSC has spawned an industry that relies on parental fear. Until your first child goes through it you don't know that it will be alright, regardless of the result your child achieves. Life goes on. People are resourceful. Creativity is often the result of struggle.
Across the weekend I noticed panicked parents wishing students luck via Facebook and students proclaiming impending doom in return. I wanted to tell them that it would be ok but I was told the same a year ago and it didn't assist in calming my nerves at the time. HSC stress is a rite of passage, as much for the parents as it is for the students.
Fast forward a year and we laugh about the HSC drama that dominated our lives.
Good luck to the students sitting final year exams. If you are a parent of one of them, breathe out.
Five points to keep in mind for the next few weeks are:
- Once the exams start there's nothing more you can do, so stop worrying.
- Remain optimistic even if you fear the worst because your child needs to go off to the exam feeling confident.
- Don't let your child dwell on why they think they failed that day's exam. Change the subject and focus on the next exam. I used to say to my son, "that subject no longer matters, you'll never have to study it again so forget about it".
- Once the exams are over there's nothing more you can, so stop worrying.
- It's amazing what people can achieve when they really want something, with or without the necessary HSC score.
Are you in HSC hell with your child right now? Do you need to get it off your chest?