Insider's Guide to High School Perspective

How to plan a fantastic Aussie school year

Textbooks are a key part of high school. (Alyce Collett/YJI)

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA – This is the time of year where millions of students in the northern hemisphere are going to back to school after the summer break. This is not the case down under. Unlike American schools, Australian school years line up with the calendar year, so this means currently Australian schools are halfway through term three.

Taking this into consideration, I’m going to tailor my advice to Australian high school students and the situation they currently find themselves in, depending on what year level they are in. I should also point out that unlike Americans, Aussie kids are in high school from years 7-12, not just the last three or four years.

This time of year, students are already starting to think about next year. Sometime this term, most students will have to pick their subjects for next year.

Whether it be just what language or what elective subjects in years 7, 8 and 9 or all your subjects in the senior years, my advice is the same. Don’t worry about what subjects your friends are doing. Do what you love.

Most of the time, you don’t need your friends in class. You may need people for group tasks, but as long as there is someone you’re friendly with in your class, then you’re fine. You may not be friends with them, but if you get along with them, that’s all that matters.

Besides, without your friends in the class it’ll probably be easier to concentrate. You won’t have friends trying to gasbag with you in class.

In terms of year 11 and 12 subjects, do what you have to in terms of uni pre-requisites, but be definite that you want to do the course that you sign up for. You only have five subjects once you reach year 12, so you can’t afford to be chopping and changing.

This time of year is when students in year 12 begin to think about next year. Before they know it, applications for uni courses will open and they’ll have to choose their future.

Year 12s, if you know what course you want to do, great. Put it as your top preference. Don’t worry about what ATAR score you think you will get. You may get it – you won’t know until December. Worry about that then.

If you don’t know what you want to do next year, my advice is do what you love. Take a moment, sit down and work out what your passions are in life. Don’t worry about which university offers the courses related to your passions.

If you end up going to a uni far away from home, it doesn’t matter. You will make things work. You’ll probably be too busy to miss home too much. But even if you do get homesick, you can videochat until the next holiday break.

Alyce Collett is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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