Year 12 is hard! The class of 2020 has it extra hard. Not only are they faced with the usual pressures of looming exams and seemingly endless syllabus material – COVID-19 has introduced a whole new level of stress.
They’ve had to adjust to self-driven online learning and new assessment requirements. But, perhaps most difficult of all, there’s no reward at the end of the tunnel. The slog of Year 12 is made far easier with the knowledge that Formals, celebrations, Uni open days and Schoolies are just around the corner. These milestones are motivating. COVID-19 is likely to put a stop to many of these moments and goals.
So, how can we motivate our year 12 students to keep studying?
The reality is, Schoolies celebrations fade and Formal is only one night. Your education will continue to impact your life forever. Yes, students deserve a party at the end and it’s disappointing when these things get cancelled. Even so, there are actually bigger and better things to look forward to, and it’s not going to be cancelled: the rest of your life! For students in Year 12 it’s important to recognise that the next stage of life is coming at you fast. Schoolies and celebrations can be rescheduled, your education can’t.
A Chance to Grow in Resilience
The reality is that we can be consumed by adversity or set-backs all the time. As a child, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and struggled with it for years. I was constantly in trouble at school and home. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to have great parents and mentors who never gave up on me.
Having gone through my own personal trials, I now stand here today with my collection of successes: an average of High Distinctions in a Science undergraduate degree, a multi-business owner and entrepreneur, and once, one of the fastest swimmers in the world for my age (2008). Throughout this long journey, I have had to work harder than my peers to make up for my inability to focus. However, in the end, I have produced nothing short of what myself or my parents have always expected of me.
I am living proof that it can be done; that against all odds, or anything people say, you can become successful if you are determined and strong willed. However, to all aspiring students and strong parents out there: you need to realise that you don’t just begin to get A’s in a day. You don’t just stumble across them. You lay foundations, one step at a time. But in the end, you will get there – if you are truly determined. Don’t let the thought of Schoolies being cancelled cloud your thoughts, you will get your time to celebrate.
Keep Your Eye On The Prize
Right now, it’s about attending every class, even online, paying 100% total attention for as long as you possibly can, and changing your mentality about school! Success is about studying week to week with no excuses, asking questions each day, and preparing mentally and physically for exams as if it was your last opportunity to produce greatness. It’s about handing in all assessment pieces on time, leaning on your teachers for support and pursuing the absolute best of your ability in every single thing you do – no matter how big or small.
It’s important to stay laser focused and keep your eyes on the prize. What COVID-19 will teach us is resilience and the ability to thrive in any situation.
Take a Break
It’s also important to continue to have a social life (even if it’s virtual). We all crave human interaction – especially in difficult times. This is no different for our Year 12 students. I’d encourage all kids in year 12 to stick to their friends and hobbies. Exercise, listen to music, read something inspiring. Take a break, make time to unwind, take care of yourself.
Stick To A Routine
Right now, more than ever, it’s more about consistency. Establish a routine and stick to it. Log your hours and days in a journal if that helps you. Make sure your study space is clean, uncluttered and inspiring to you – this will help your headspace.
That would be my advice to learners in Year 12. The Class of 2020 certainly has some challenges ahead, but with perseverance, they stand to learn a lot. If you’ve got a loved one in their final year of school, share this advice with them and keep them accountable. That’s how we’ll get to the finish line – together.
Hayden McEvoy is the founder of A Team Tuition, a tutoring company that believes in empowering every student to reach their full potential. They cover Primary School, High School as well as ATAR preparation.
What advice would you give to a Year 12 student now? Tell us in the comments below.