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After all those years of school, you’ve finally arrived in year 12, and if that makes you feel anxious, you’re not alone.

For years, grade 12 seemed so far away, something to worry about in the future, yet seemingly all of a sudden here you are facing major decisions and change.

You may still be trying to figure out study, training, employment, or even a gap year. It may feel like everyone else has their act together, but we guarantee that they don’t. Uncertainty is completely normal.

Make a plan

The good news is that your school can work with you to make a plan, so focus on what you can control while you wait for further information.

It is a good time to do some research if you have a few ideas. If not, don’t stress. Chat to family, friends, or your careers advisor, then consider their suggestions.

Keep up the good work

Your teachers are committed to making sure you can keep learning – maybe in ways you haven’t done before. If there are areas of any subject you don’t feel confident about, make a time to chat with your teacher. Most are happy to help you to improve, and this can help them with lesson planning.

Enjoy the milestone moments

Grade 12 shouldn’t only be about exams and results. There are plenty of opportunities for fun, like formal and graduation events, and your last ever sports carnival. Embrace this time with your mates and throw yourself into enjoying all the milestones – everyone needs a great distraction from the more serious side of year 12.

Address exam nerves early

If you find exams especially nerve-wracking, remind yourself of coping skills that have worked for you in the past, or take time to learn some new strategies.

If you have older siblings or friends, they’ve been through this, so why not ask them what helped them to deal with study pressure and exam nerves?

Help is at hand through teachers and school guidance counsellors. Don’t let stress build up by trying to handle it alone – it is much better to introduce some good de-stressing habits now.

Keep some balance

It may feel like you need to spend every moment studying, but it is more important than ever to make time for the things that you enjoy. In fact, physical activity, enjoying crafts and seeing friends can all help your brain to work better, so keeping balance in life will help you to better results.

Seek help

There are a lot of people around you who are happy to help you through the tough times, but sometimes there’s nothing like talking to a professional.

Headspace has trained counsellors who can help you one-on-one with everything from careers and study advice to managing your emotional wellbeing. They also have loads of advice and online peer groups to support you along the way.

Grade 12 can feel daunting, but it is also an exciting time, full of memorable moments. By following these tips, you’ll be well on the way to thriving in your final year.

If you think you need help now, or even just want to have a conversation