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If you’ve ever told a parent, teacher or another adult that you hate school, you’ve probably heard the line: ‘…but school is important for your future’.

And it’s true – looking to the future is important. But what about when you can’t see past the day-to-day struggle? Thinking about the future just doesn’t feel like enough. You need a solution to the day-in, day-out.

We’ve taken a look through some of the common things that can make school feel like the worst thing in the world, and some of the possible solutions to help you make it through the other side to that great future everyone keeps talking about.

You feel like you have no control

It’s true. School is a great place for planning for the future. You’ll find a range of things you like, as well as a bunch of things you don’t like, and that will hopefully help bring your future career into focus. When you’re just starting out in highschool, certain subjects are required—you don’t get to choose—so that you learn the basics, and get a flavour of what’s to come if you choose them in senior. It can feel like you don’t have much control over that, but ultimately you will when it comes to doing your SET plan and choosing senior subjects. If you find that you’d prefer to go down a VET pathway, you’ll be given that opportunity as well.

The important thing is to really think about what you enjoy and choose wisely. Don’t go with what your mates are doing or do ‘smart subjects’ because you think you’ll get a better ATAR (if you choose to go for one). You do you. And when you realise that – you’ll find you’ve got all the control.

Feeling overwhelmed or stressed

Regardless of what you decide to study in school, there’s going to be moments where you will feel stressed. The important thing is to learn ways to manage that. Here’s some helpful tips:

  • Don’t leave things to the last minute. When you are given a task, find the due date, mark it on your calendar and work out how long you have to do it. Break down the work into manageable chunks with your own mini deadlines to make sure it keeps progressing on time.
  • Be kind to yourself. While it’s important to be productive, focusing only on school can leave you feeling worn out. Make sure to balance school with personal time. Go for a walk, listen to music, watch a movie. You get the idea. If you are worried that you don’t have enough time, block it out in your schedule in advance and work towards it.
  • Speak up. If you’re feeling like you’re drowning, you don’t have to go through it alone. Speak to your parents, teachers, or another trusted adult and see if you can work through it together.

You’re being bullied

Bullying can come in a bunch of different forms and they can all make the idea of heading to school feel even worse.

If you are being bullied, the important thing is to speak up. Don’t be ashamed to tell others what you’re going through. The sooner you take action to find support, the sooner you’ll be able to see a change. For some more practical steps to confronting bullying, check out these tips.

School is just for ‘the smart kids’

Firstly, everyone is entitled to an education, even if your grades aren’t as high as other kids in your class.

Secondly, while grades are important, they aren’t everything. Like we said above, school is an opportunity to explore the things you do and don’t like. You’ll likely find that the subjects you enjoy are the ones that you’ll get better marks in. Focus on those ones and let them empower you.

If you’re feeling like you’re not doing well at anything, that’s okay too. You’re still young, and some things take time to learn. It’s about finding things you enjoy, ‘your different’ the thing that drives you and makes you see a future that’s bright. Find that thing and keep working at it. Whether it’s a subject at school, or part of VET training, it will give your time at school more purpose.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day of school, that’s okay. Remember, you don’t have to make the journey through school alone. If you need more help, try speaking with your year level coordinator, a guidance officer, a teacher, your parents or another trusted adult.