In January, I had the opportunity to speak to our Year 12 students at Deakin University about the challenge of Year 12. Nine months later, it is timely that I share some of my story I told on that day.
At the beginning of 2018, I set the personal goal to run the 2018 Melbourne Marathon. I had always enjoyed running but the longest distance I had ever ran was a half marathon (21.1 km).
In committing to a marathon, you develop a running program and a train to improve. You test yourself in trial races – 5km, 10km and 21km – as you develop your stamina and mental strength. Injuries, soreness, weather conditions and time, all impede the training process during the year. Visits to physiotherapists and podiatrists take place to alleviate the niggling injuries. The end goal, being the 42.2km race, looms at the end of a 9-month training block. The thoughts of ‘Am I going to make it?’, ‘Will my body cope with the demands?’, and “Will I succeed in achieving my goal?” are in the back of your mind as your train and run.
Year 12 is like a marathon.
Years 12 students have had a similar experience with their studies across the last three terms and they are almost at race day – the final examinations.
Students have developed goals around how they want to learn, their study scores, ATARs and identified courses for further study, apprenticeships or work. Our students planned their study and have executed these in class, the Academic Study Centre, the library and at home. It has not been uncommon to see boys before and after school studying together or individually to develop their understanding and knowledge in preparation for school assessments and the examinations. They have prepared for assessments and achieved results. Some results have meant students are happy and confident, other results have led to disappointment and the need to reset goals or study harder or smarter. Exhaustion, frustration and a sense of accomplishment happen throughout the year, similar emotions to the marathon runner.
A runner in the weeks preceding a marathon begins final preparations to get the best result. Year 12s are putting final plans in place.
VCAL students will finish next Friday knowing that they have explored opportunities, tried and developed new skills, gained qualifications and made friendships that will last a lifetime. They have shown great courage and resilience in their studies and this in turn has provided them all with future study and work prospects. I wish them well in these pursuits.
For our VCE students, final preparations include completing practice examination papers and essays, seeking feedback, utilising Edrolo, reading study notes, and seeking advice from teachers and tutors. It is important to maintain sleep, exercise and a healthy diet. Likewise, it is beneficial to draw upon others for support (parents, peers, teachers, counsellors and careers). The following questions are helpful for students to contemplate:
- What planning have I put in place that will allow me to achieve my goals?
- What are my learning strengths I can depend on?
- What areas do I need to focus / get support?
- Am I willing to push myself beyond what I think I can achieve?
- Who are my supporters?
Our VCE students will complete their examinations and subsequently receive their study scores and ATARs. Regardless of the ATAR, we as a school will be proud of every young man’s achievement as we know that they have challenged themselves to achieve their best. Our Year 12s are gentle young men who live with integrity and leave us as global citizens walking in the way of Jesus Christ.
I wish you every success.
Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching