Swimming in a sea of expectation

So most Year 12s are embarking on a sense of short-term freedom, with exams finishing  and results approaching. One Year 12 said to me, “Just time to chill, sleep and watch Netflix,” But no matter what, expectations still are looming.

As the School Counsellor, I have often met with Year 12 students not going as well as they had hoped.  A poignant theme in many of these conversations often includes a concern or even fear that they are letting parents down.  Their sense of wanting parents and caregivers to be pleased and to acknowledge what they have contended with is acute. But the 12+ years of education could never be reduced to a score.  Of course, there are so many other enriching experiences St John’s Grammar immerses students in, which provide an education that builds on values that will never be reflected in an ATAR. Maybe you have talked about what this concept of education is, in its broadest form. Perhaps in remembering your own pathways – it may have been a pastime or an extracurricular passion or interactions with teachers that gave the extra mile and contributed to you following a pathway. A student recently told me that his Dad was hoping he felt he had a range of options and wouldn’t be locked into one job – a privilege his Dad never had.

Of course, when students are more than disappointed in not attaining the score they need we need to acknowledge that, as no one plans to fail. As one returning student said to me when disappointment arrived, “Having Mum and Dad not being worried and not seeing it as a big deal really helped. Having them help me get information for other pathways into a course I wanted, after the shock of it all, was good.”  At the recent Valedictory assembly a past student gave a heartfelt speech to the current Year 12s and families. He didn’t get into that hoped for course. He tried to convince Year 12s to “not stress, it’s not worth it … other things will happen!”  We know it is not that easy to turn the stress off … but it was good to hear from the other side and that perseverance does work. There are other ways to get into the course that you really want.

Carolyn Markey

School Counsellor