Journalists, politicians and everyday citizens have come together to send HSC students a message in a new campaign, thereslifeafter.org.
Created by ReachOut.com and the Inspire Foundation, the series of motivational videos include Malcolm Turnbull, Sarah Harris, David Gonski, Ryan Fitzgerald (Fitzy) and various other well-known names, sharing their experiences with the HSC exams and giving advice to the students about to undergo their year 12 exams.
Executive at ReachOut.com Mick Garnett told The Newsroom, “our experience with ReachOut.com and the many people that come and visit our service is that people think there is only one path to follow and that their mark in year 12 determines that. With the #thereslifeafter campaign and all the video messages, people very clearly say that there’s a bunch of different ways that you can get to whatever you want to achieve.”
A Board of Studies statistic and UniStats show that out of the 9653 students who studied Legal Studies in 2012, only 13.39 per cent went onto study law at university in 2013. Similarly with Business Studies, 15,458 students chose the course as an elective with only 27 per cent pursuing a business degree in 2013.
“There’s a whole bunch of things you can be interested in and it’s more common than ever for people to actually change their plans after year 12, so a message is there that there’s a whole bunch of things that can happen after year 12. So do your best but do remember that there’s plenty of life after,” Mr Garnett said.
Australian of the year and journalist, Ita Buttrose, told students in the clip to create balance.
Mr Garnett agreed, “Get enough sleep, a good diet and get out and about. A lot of people were talking about exercising being very important. Bill Shorten and others were sort of saying that a healthy mind and a healthy body is particularly important at that time.
“Malcolm Turnbull in particular reinforced the fact that higher levels of anxiety and stress to a certain level don’t receive a beneficial result, so he was saying chill out. It comes to a point where all of the work that you’ve done is as much as you can really do and then it’s just kind of get in there and do your best on the day.”
David Gonski completed his HSC year in 1971, when students were “all obsessed with the Vietnam War” and feared conscription. “I was particularly keen to do well in them, because I had read that if you became a university student or you did skills that were necessary for the nation, you would avoid conscription and for me avoiding conscription was number one.”
Mr Gonski recalled thinking he would not be able to complete his mathematics exam, and the supervisor’s kindness allowed him to get back into “the position to finish the paper”.
“I’ve never forgotten that pressure and I’ve always felt at that point I’d gotten a little bit out of plum and I shouldn’t have got as upset and worried as I did. Absolutely as I look back now, it was a beginning not an end. A step in a long line of good steps and a step that basically you should take seriously but absolutely see it as a step in a wonderful life full of lots of other things,” he said.
Mr Garnett said while the general message was that there is life after the year 12 exams, there’s a more specific message as well. “Lots of people care about them. Australians do care about young people and that’s very much the message we want to get out to young people doing their exams is that, from your family and your friends to everyday Australians and to prominent Australians we want people to thrive and do their best. The country is behind them at this time,” he told The Newsroom. – Bianca Mureddu
Top photo from Steven S’s Flickr photostream.