An Open Letter to the Class of 2017

It won’t be all rainbows and butterflies, but it’ll be one of the best years of your life.

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So, I’ve always been meaning to write a little post about what my senior year was really like… but the urge only just hit me when I noticed a large influx of new Year 12’s posting photos of their “Last First Day’s” of High School (and felt a hell of a lot of nostalgia).

Being someone who only JUST graduated from high school made me feel (somewhat) equipped to write a little letter to those who are about to go through the heaven and hell that is your Senior Year. I hope this letter provides a little insight to your year and lets you in on a few life hacks that I wish I had been warned of before starting.

So without further ado, here is my open letter to the class of 2017…


To the Class of 2017,

It’s going to be a long journey, you know. This is the hardest level of secondary schooling that you will ever have to experience. There will be many ups and downs, highs and lows, mental breakdowns and self-doubt… but I assure you, it will all be worth it.

Social Media and Senior Year

Let’s face it… you’re in your final year of schooling FOREVER! Of course you’re going to be excited. You’ve finally hit the top of the food chain and you’re about to rule the school and make your mark. Living in the technological age of the 21st century, we tend to sometimes overshare our thoughts through the power of words and photos (which is not always a bad thing).

You’re probably going to have the urge to put “Senior Year” with the graduation hat emoji as your Instagram bio. It’s okay, don’t stress, we’ve all been there. Although others may see it as completely cringe-worthy, you will wear it like a badge of honour. School sucks man… own that privilege. After all, you’ll only be able to do it once.

You’ll also feel the urge to document every little thing that happens this year… please don’t ignore this urge! The year is going to go so fast that you’re not going to want to miss a moment of it. Take heaps of photos and videos, but also make sure to live in the moment. After all, you never know when you’re going to be doing something for the very last time.

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Social Life in Your Senior Year

Parties

Even if you’re not the most social person in the world, the chances of you being invited to heaps of parties and gatherings is very likely. Try to go to as many as possible! (if you’re up to date with your assessment of course). Sadly, you probably won’t speak to about 90% of your grade when the year is done, so what better way to make the most of your time than spending it with those who have been by your side since the start of time.

Drinking & Smoking

Just because you are in Year 12 does NOT mean you have to smoke or drink to “fit in”. Just because you’re being chanted “Here’s to ____, she’s/he’s true blue…” doesn’t mean you HAVE to chug a whole bottle of vodka. If you’re not comfortable with it, don’t do it. No one will judge or abandon you for it. I personally did drink during my high school years, but I never found myself succumbing to peer pressure. It was my own choice and I personally felt comfortable with it. I say this because I had friends who weren’t completely sold on the idea of it, which was 110% okay. You can still have fun without being intoxicated by some sort of substance. You do you!!!

Your Cohort

People will say that your cohort will start to bond and come together in your Senior Year… and this is completely true. Even if you think you’ve be-friended everyone in your grade, you will probably find yourself unexpectedly meeting even more. I made so many new friends that I only saw as acquaintances during my education and they’re some of the best people I’ve ever met! Soon enough, cliques will start to bond with others and you will all join together to form some sort of big family. It really is an awesome feeling.

Drama

You’re going to feel very mature and grown up during the year, but I can promise you that you’re going to be neck-deep in drama and gossip. I’ve learnt that its a given and you’ll never really get rid of it during High School. You will use these experiences to stay out of it and keep to yourself (or you’ll do what I did and create drama without even realising lol). My advice is to stay civil with absolutely everyone, at least until the end of the year. Live for the moment and don’t let that bitch in your English class determine your worth.

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Experiences in Your Senior Year

Jerseys

You’re going to feel like the most superior bitch in school when you and your squad roll up to school in your matching Year 12 Jerseys – it’s very exciting. Own it, sister.

School Activities

Year 12 is the year where the things you love will become the things you miss. Try to make the effort to go to EVERY sports carnival or school event! Dress up with your friends, step out of your comfort zone and have fun! Hell… My boyfriend and I dressed up as Nuns and Babies for a laugh at our sports carnivals. Make these experiences memorable! I absolutely despised any form of school carnival in my younger years, but there is just something about being the head of the school that makes them so much better!

Formal

I know it seems like it now, but Formal will not be the biggest and best thing that will ever happen to you. I know, SHOCKER. I’m not saying to not be excited for it – definitely hype yourself up! Just don’t let the funk of Formal distract you and make you put off school work. After all, if you don’t complete the work, you won’t be going to formal.

The Library

In any other grade, you would be called a nerd for spending your mornings, lunches and afternoons in the library. In year 12, it’s more than necessary sometimes. Get familiar with the library, it’ll be your new home for a few months.

Wagging

For god’s sake, don’t even think about wagging school in Year 12. Your days of skipping class to go shopping while seeming cool and edgy are over. In fact, it’s embarrassing as hell. Don’t throw away your education because you’re craving a slurpee during 2nd period; because the truth is that someone is going to find out and snitch on you. Being suspended or expelled in Year 12 is humiliating enough on your part. The year is full of fun and excitement, don’t mess it up with petty activities like wagging or smoking weed on the oval**.

** It’s more common than you’d think…

Assessment in Your Senior Year

OP and Rank 

There seems to be some sort of stigma in Queensland High Schools that tells students you can’t drop to rank without seeming “dumb” or “stupid”. It’s like a secret rule that doesn’t need to be said aloud. Let me get something straight… Just because you have chosen to go down the rank pathway or decide to drop to rank later on in the year does NOT make you dumb WHATSOEVER. I’ve always been an over-functioning high-achiever; it’s just who I am. I spent my Year 11 days only just getting by in the OP Pathway and absolutely dreading going to school everyday. At the start of Year 12, I made the decision to drop to rank due to health and personal issues and it was the BEST thing I’ve ever done. I had two sets of spares to get my head together and did five OP subjects (I know it doesn’t sound right but I can’t be bothered explaining how it made me rank equivalent). I knew I was more than capable of doing OP, but to save myself from unnecessary stress and more heavy health issues, I listened to my mind and dropped for the greater good. If I continued to stay in the OP pathway, I wouldn’t have made it through high school OR received the results that I did. If you feel yourself struggling, be mindful of your thoughts and make the necessary actions required for you to perform at your best.

But then again, “I’m not doing OP” is NOT an excuse to relax. What you put into the year is exactly what you’re going to get out of it. Just because you do rank does NOT mean you can slack off. Doing this will risk your Certificate of Education and possibly cut you short of your career aspirations.

QCS

QCS is a joke, I know – but it’ll be over soon enough. Don’t stress out about it too much like I did. It’s a test that you literally cannot study for. Learn a few tips and tricks about time management and writing techniques for the exam and go for gold.

Teachers

Teachers are going to become your best friends. They’re going to make themselves comfortable around you and throw around the occasional curse word like they’re talking to their mates at the pub. Hell, I called all of my teachers by their first name for the whole year without a single bat of the eye. They want the best for you and will go to any mile to make sure you feel confident. Please don’t throw them around like they’re nothing, after all… you legally do NOT have to be at school anymore. Got a problem with the education system? Drop out. Work full time. Start an apprenticeship. Whatever you wanna do.  But god forbid you push your negativity on those who are just trying to do their job. They will continue to stress, inspire and motivate you to fulfil your potential, so please make the time you have with them the best you can, because you will miss them so much when you leave.

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Procrastination

If I’m being completely honest with you, Term 3 will be the worst term of your entire life. This term will make or break you and determine your worth within the education system. Make sure to use this advice to your advantage and get strict with yourself. After all, if you’re relying on a certain grade or score to pursue a certain career, you’ll need to work damn hard… and at crucial times like this, self-control is 110% necessary to get through exams, assignments and general assessment.

One of the things that got me through the year was an app called “Self-Control”. You simply write down all of the websites that you might be tempted to go on and it blocks them out for a certain amount of time. Once you click “start”, there is absolutely no getting around it on your computer. It’s a brilliant system and I’ll leave a few links to similar apps for different platforms down below.


“Self Control”  – Mac Application (This is the one I swear by)

“Freedom”  – iPhone, iPad, Windows and Mac Application

Other Alternatives – Have a geez if you’re not feeling the other two apps listed


Ask for Help 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek assistance in your school work or mental state. It ain’t weak to speak, and it’s something that I can guarantee all Year 12 graduates wish they did more often.

“F*** it, I’ll just be a stripper”

You may start to consider a career in prostitution or stripping a little too seriously. A few of us even made the effort to research “Sugar Daddies” and discuss business opportunities and employment for those who have given up and are surrendering to the life of a prostitute for easy money. It sounds silly now, but you probably will consider it during the mid year. (Pls don’t actually do it though lol).

Sleep Cycle

I’ve struggled with sleeping disorders and mild insomnia throughout my entire life, so it may seem a little hypocritical coming from me… but whenever you can, make sure to treat yourself to an early nights rest. There will be a hell of a lot of times where you’ll be running off 2 hours sleep and 4 cups of coffee; so your body will thank you immensely in the long run.

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Aside from all of this, make sure to live in the moment and enjoy every second of your Senior Year! There will be times that absolutely suck, but soon enough, you will be rewarded with some of the best memories of your life. Just because the Education System is screwed up doesn’t mean you can’t find a little light out of it.

To the Class of 2017 – Congratulations and Good Luck! Work hard, play hard and get lit.

All the best,

Julia xxx

(@halfgirlhalfasleep)

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