Josh Winter: The biggest challenge for me is not having verbal interaction with my teachers, although Zoom calls do help a lot as you can talk to them online. I found that by keeping up with all my schoolwork it helps me under lockdown because it reduces all the stress that I am under. I hope things get under control with COVID for next year for the Year 11s when they prepare for their HSC in a better way than what we had to go through this year.
Anouk Labuschagne: Unfortunately, COVID brought on so many challenges to overcome. For example, online trial exams, Zoom meetings and the constantly changing HSC date, but the biggest one was and still remains to be, procrastination. It took a state-wide lockdown for me to realise that my school’s strict phone policy existed for a reason. Technology is the greatest cultivator of procrastination – why should I study for the HSC when I can just surf the web? But a mindset like that doesn’t produce good results and I knew I had to make a change. Just because I am at home doesn’t mean that school simply disappears. I decided to recreate a school structure, no phones from 9am to 3pm, stick to my timetable and only take breaks that I would’ve had if I was at school. I feel my preparation for the HSC has greatly benefited from this mindset!
Jorja Mann: Preparing for Year 12 HSC exams is daunting enough without COVID, so lockdown and online learning have added to the pile of stress. I have always been very motivated and determined to achieve good marks. However, after completing our trial HSC exams online and being informed that our final HSC has been delayed until November, I am starting to become very resentful towards the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), as well as our premier, who are pushing for these exams to go ahead. Like many other Year 12 students, completing my final weeks of Year 12 in my bedroom and not being able to connect face to face with teachers and friends, has posed an enormous challenge to my motivation and mental health. Some mornings I am tempted to stay in bed and not attend any classes at all, or I am too distracted by my phone and social media to remain concentrated. I have started to adopt a negative mentality and attitude of ‘who cares’ and ‘it’s not going to matter’, which is not usually something I would say. Therefore, my biggest challenge has been maintaining my motivation. Whilst I’ve been making an effort to wake up early to attend all five periods every day and sticking to a routine, I do not feel like I am preparing for the HSC. I hope my assessment marks and trial HSC result will be enough to gain me acceptance into university. Whilst it does not seem possible at the moment, I hope that sometime next term my friends and I will be able to have a graduation ceremony to celebrate our 13 years of schooling.