Friday 14 December this year is the BIG day. The day that many year 12 students think about with excitement, anxiety or fear. Six long years of high school, studying and cramming for exams leads to this all important day. VCE results and ATARs will be available.
Getting that all important ATAR score…or not
The expectation, the worry, the disappointment. I remember it so well.
At the time it was built up in my mind as the most important day in my life. Getting that score that would determine if I get into uni and the course that I wanted… And would make my parents proud.
In mine and my parents’ minds, the order of uni course dreams (demands..) went a little something like this:
2. Medicine – the alternative route, eg. via dentistry, veterinary science or science
4. Law & Commerce
5. Law & Science
The feeling of devastation
The day results were released was devastating. Reality punched me in the face and knocked me over. To be honest, though, I kind of half expected it after the chemistry exam. But I was in denial and still held out hope.
I stared at the number. It stared back at me. Then I couldn’t quite see it because of the tears in my eyes. I knew that there was no way I would get into medicine via any route, or any of the other dream courses in my mind.
Worried about telling my parents
It’s funny, but at that moment, the thing I was worried about the most was how I was going to tell my parents, and how they were going to react. They wanted me to do well. They worked so hard and made many sacrifices to put me through school. I feared their disappointment, worry and anger. Most of all, I feared their rejection.
Comparing myself to others
Then the phone calls came from friends. “What did you get? How did you go? Are you happy? What do you think you will do? Have you heard, so and so got a near perfect score?”
I tried to put on a happy face and be happy for the success of my friends. But deep down, my mind was whirling a million miles an hour. I felt like a failure; and lurched between anger, sadness and despair.
What do I do now?
Talking to someone
I went and saw my careers counsellor, who had also been my psychology teacher. She helped me to put things into perspective and consider my options. And she gave me the courage to talk to my parents. They didn’t jump up and down with joy, but they also didn’t react as badly as I expected. But even after her assurances that things would be OK, I found it hard to pick myself up.
I did end up getting into uni, but it didn’t seem to relieve my sadness and anxiety. It wasn’t a course I was passionate about. None of my friends would be going to that uni. It was a million miles away. I could feel myself seeing things more and more negatively. There was a lot of baggage I had to work through…and I did, with some help.
Years later, after uni and a couple of jobs under my belt, I can still remember and feel the nervousness and angst that students feel at this time of year.
Worried about life after high school? Feeling overwhelmed?
Finishing high school and starting the next chapter of life can be stressful and daunting. Uni, TAFE, getting a job, adult responsibilities, it’s a lot to deal with.
Inspiro’s youth counsellors can help if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad or stressed. We provide a free youth counselling service for people aged 12 to 25 years who are either living, working or studying in the Yarra Ranges. Students do not need a mental health plan to see a counsellor.
The service is funded by Yarra Ranges Council, and our counsellors can support you from our clinics in Lilydale, Healesville, Belgrave, or at other locations by arrangement.
See one of our counsellors in Lilydale, Healesville or Belgrave. It’s free. Call 9028 0153