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Exams and assignments can feel like your entire life, and the stress can be pretty overwhelming.

Our recent graduates, Sai, Jasper and Ciro reflect back on the stresses of school, balancing workload and life and what to do when things start feeling like they’re too much.

At school I got stressed about

Sai: Graduating school, to be honest…

Jasper: Trying to stretch myself so thin…

Ciro: It’s only a number…

Jasper: At school I got stressed about ________. How do you feel about that now?

I used to get really stressed about exams and assignments.

Ciro: One of my teachers taught me, one of my music teachers said, you know, learning an instrument isn’t done over a day. It’s not done over a week. It’s done over years. And she used that as a metaphor of you’ve only got this assessment for about a term and then after it doesn’t mean anything, it’s only a number.

Jasper: Yeah, exactly.

Sai: I got stressed about, I guess, graduating school, to be honest, because I was getting a bit too cruisy to the point where I kind of was just not doing the work, not putting in the work. And so I was afraid of like not graduating. I had a reality check, like probably mid-year through grade 12. I was like, okay, I was looking at like my grades and stuff and I was like, okay, I need to put in the effort now if I want to make it across the line.

Ciro: From my experience, it was more so. I was focused on school, but I wasn’t really focused on family. But if I just stood back a little bit and just went, look at, you know, like the whole picture, instead of just always, you know, on this grind of next assessment, next assessment, next test, next test. Or I revise, revise this and that and just go, hey, hey, let’s just take a mental check and go, hey, what’s really important right now. Especially for, you know, myself as a male, being able to communicate how I feel is such a powerful thing in not only releasing my own, you know, frustration and feelings, you know, in a healthy way, but also being able to have people around me to support. Especially in year 12, where you have so many pressures, everyone has so many pressures. And I feel like for me personally, I wasn’t able to communicate it. I wish I just went, hey, you know, can we talk, you know?

Jasper: Do you guys also get stressed about trying to fit everything else in? I know for me personally, I had work and sport. And I remember it was very stressful trying to stretch myself so thin and try and do my best at all those other things. Looking back now, wish I just took the time to focus on school.

Sai: What advice I could give to high schoolers right now is get as much support as you can, because that’s one thing that helped me get through school and helped me get this job. Was reaching out to teachers at school. They’re always there to help. That’s their job. And so use that to your advantage, they just want to help you get across the line and help you, you know, have a successful future. So definitely reach out for support, get that help.

Jasper: I agree, use all the resources that you can. Because you might not have that when you’re in uni. But in high school, if you have them, take them, they’ll help you so much.

Sai: Yeah, you’re not alone.