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Why I stayed until the end of Year 12 even though I wanted to drop out
The following is a testimonial from Matt, a high-school graduate who was thinking of dropping out and not going through to the end of Year 12.
Getting to Year 12 felt like along haul, there was no doubt about it. I’d already done so many years of school, and now I was on the home stretch – approaching senior.
But instead of a sprint to the end, Year 12 looked like a marathon to me, and I wanted out.
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.
Thankfully, in junior secondary, I ended up talking to my guidance officer about how I was feeling; and I’m honestly glad I did. It was around the time we were doing SET planning.
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.
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.
For anyone else thinking of dropping out before 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 are 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!