Final Exams

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Nerves, trepidation and anxiety are all hallmarks of the students who have finished their senior schooling and are now faced with their final exams.

As my eldest daughter sits her HSC (Higher School Certificate) I’m filled with pride at her tenacity but also worry about the pressure she is putting on herself to do well, which in all fairness is probably a manifestation of all the expectations her teachers, family, friends and peers have all put on her.

She told me that given her timetable, with her four hardest exams in the first three days, she worries that she can’t live up to everyone’s standards. Her head is swimming with information that realistically is probably irrelevant for her in the future.

As I’ve said to her time and again, as long as she tries her hardest, she can be proud of her effort.

What has surprised me is how exhausted she is from sitting her exams. She is truly fatigued from trying to remember and recall so much information.

There is so much weight given to these last exams, but they are not the be all and end all of the life she is planning. Even if she bombs out in these exams, there will be ways forward either through further education or work experience. Life has a way of working things out.

As each exam passes she gains relief by throwing out all her study notes and practice essays for that subject. It’s like a visual representation of the weight being lifted from her shoulders.

This time in three weeks she will be free of her exams and will have a chance to let down her hair and party. When she is at her most stressed I keep reminding her that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I remember being in her shoes and also stressing beyond belief but when I received my results it seemed an anticlimax because by then I had the clarity to realise that your results don’t define you nor do they limit your potential. Life is what you make it!

(Image courtesy of inus12345, freedigitalphotos.net)

GROWING UP

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I was recently having a deep and meaningful conversation with an eight year old girl about growing up. She told me that she couldn’t wait to be an adult so she didn’t have to go to school and she could choose what she would do every day.

I explained to her that she is currently in the best time of her life. As a school kid, she gets around twelve weeks of holidays each year and that when she is grown up she will only get four weeks annual leave per year. I also explained that instead of going to school until 3pm she would have to work until at least 5pm, probably even later. Finally I discussed with her the fact that all her hard work and effort would allow her to earn money that she would have to use to pay bills for food, clothing, housing and all her entertainment, whilst at the moment her parents pay for all those things for her.

After this enlightening speech I taught her about the old adage ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ and said that although it might look like much more fun to be a grown up, the best time of your life is when you are a kid. There aren’t too many adults that wouldn’t like short days spent with friends, where you get multiple breaks to play, plenty of holidays and don’t have to pay for a thing!

As with anything in life, you often don’t appreciate how good things are until they change. So my advice to this little girl was to not wish away her childhood but to embrace and love life now, because once she is grown up, there’s no going back!

(Photo courtesy of stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net)