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The following is a testimonial from Matt, a high-school graduate who was thinking of dropping out of year 12.

Getting to year 12 felt like a massive accomplishment, there was no doubt about it. I’d already done 13 years of school, and now I was on the home stretch.

But instead of a sprint to the end, year 12 looked like a marathon to me, and I wanted out.

I ended up talking to my guidance officer about how I was feeling; and I’m honestly glad I did.

Illustration of a young person facing mountains with a flag in the distance. Text reads
Illustration of boy looking confused with the text: Reasons why the last year of school can feel like a massive slog

He said there’s a bunch of reasons why the last year of school can feel like a massive slog. Things like:

  • Feeling overwhelmed with assignments and exams
  • Not feeling passionate about what I’m learning
  • Not knowing what to do after school
  • Not liking the environment e.g. teachers, other students and structure

For me, it was a combination of a couple of things: I wasn’t passionate about what I was learning, and that collided with a real fear that I didn’t know what I wanted to do once school was over.

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The guidance officer told me I'd come to the right place.

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He said that there’s a bunch of options I could consider to get past those feelings and make it through to the end of year 12. He said getting through to the end, would give me an edge when it came to finding a job. Even if I decided not to go to uni, I’d have way more options after school if employers could see I graduated.

I mentioned that I wasn’t really keen on going to uni anyway, and he suggested I try out things like a school-based apprenticeship or VET at school, through TAFE or another RTO like a specialised trade college.

Illustration of a young boy speaking with a guidance officer

He said the bottom line was that regardless of what I chose to do, I’d need to be in some form of education, training or employment until I was 17, but the good thing was that I had a say in what that looked like.

I’m super grateful for having that conversation with my school’s guidance officer. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have considered a school-based apprenticeship. I’m now on my way to becoming a qualified mechanic and stoked for what the future holds.

Illustration of a young man holding a spanner and a flag with a calendar visible in the background

For anyone else thinking of dropping out in year 12, my best piece of advice would be to not jump into the decision without having a good think about what’s making you want to quit, and then having a chat with someone about it.

There’s heaps of support options beyond doing apprenticeships and traineeships as well, like if you’re feeling overwhelmed with assignments and exams, your school can help with flexible timetables and different subjects. I honestly wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t speak up about how I was feeling; so do yourself a favour and check in with someone like a school guidance officer, year level coordinator or a teacher. You won’t regret it!