Let’s flash back about three weekends, there I am, sitting on the couch with my Economics textbook in hand, typing up notes on my laptop. Did I forget to mention, in the same room were my two cousins next to me and the TV playing a good old classic – Lilo and Stitch.

Every single part of brain knew it was a terrible idea to watch TV and do school work at the same time, and if it wasn’t my brain saying it, it was my mother. But honestly, who could resist the little blue alien, with actually, a lot of advice to offer?

Although most of the movie encompassed rogue aliens and dancing hula girls, the deep and meaningful parts of the movie, made for some pretty valuable HSC advice, and got me wondering, how many other lessons can we learn from Disney movies, that as a kid, we didn’t stop to think about?

Lesson #1: “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind,”

Lilo and Stitch



Okay, so yes, I totally understand that this quote is all about family, obviously, but taking a school approach – this quote really inspired me.

Something that I have since found truely beneficial, is studying with friends. Shock horror, it can be a lot of fun. Studying productively whilst still enjoying yourselves is 100% achievable.

The way my friends and I achieve this is by taking regular breaks! We often meet at a place such as the local town centre which has a library with study rooms. A good suggestion is to book a study space like this, study for about an hour and a half, and take a break by heading down to the food court for a snack or a drink. This, way you’re not over working yourself and have less chance of becoming distracted.

By working together, you’re ensuring that you and your friends aren’t being left behind.

Some ideas for creative learning together is to create flashcards, play trivia with class content and you could even channel your inner Hannah Montana and think up some rhymes or songs to help you remember syllabus points – what do you know, that’s some Disney advice as well!

After all, you may be excelling at school at the moment, but if a friend is falling behind, the best thing to do is give them a hand, because you never know, you might need their help later on in the year.

Lesson #2: “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.”

The Lion King



So, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably regretted leaving an assignment until the last minute, forgetting to ask your teacher for the extra help and may or may not have failed an exam or two in your time. If you can say ‘oath to that’ or ‘preach it sister,’ you can definitely learn something from The Lion King.

Yes, we’ve made mistakes, no, most of us aren’t aiming for a 99.95 ATAR, but a little bit of goal setting can help you move on from the past mistakes (because we can’t change them). Then, try to achieve higher in the future.

Something I’ve learnt from relentless fortnightly periods in homeroom is all about short term, medium term and long term goals. Short term goals are usually for a couple of weeks, then medium term goals last for a few months, and long term goals can be anything lasting for a year or more.

I’ll give you an example;

Short term goal: Complete all the Modern History homework, plus doing extra reading on weekends.

Medium term goal: Achieve 85% or higher on the half yearly Modern History task.

Long term goal: Achieve a Band 6 in Modern History and a 90+ ATAR.

As you can see, the short term goal, helps to achieve the medium term goal, which helps to achieve the long term goal. Fool proof!

Although I’ve probably made it seem easier than it really is, if you put in the work and set achievable goals, you’ll be saying ‘HS C-Ya Later!’ to those past mistakes.

Lesson #3: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

Mary Poppins



Ah, Mary Poppins, my spirit animal. Not only is her handbag #goals, and her flying capabilities the most amazing thing ever, her exceptional pieces of advice are, you guessed it, applicable to the HSC. A job, you say? Ew. An element of fun, however? Heck yeah!

Coming from a Year 12 student, this might seem like a bit of dodgy advice, but truely, you all need to take some time off every now and then.

Now, I’m not saying you and your pals should hit up your local froyo shop every afternoon, or you should be out partying every Saturday night, but neither should you have your head in a textbook 24/7.

Certainly not bragging (cough, cough), but I think I might be pretty solid on the whole life balance thing we keep hearing about. Yes, I have a job, which I work at two to three times a week. On the occasional Thursday afternoon, I’ll head to my local town centre for some sushi or Boost juice (both if I’m really feeling it), and I am usually able to be organised enough to make it to a party on Saturday.

One strategy I find helpful is planning out my week on a piece of paper, if I particularly busy week, like this;

Monday – Work on homework and study notes

Tuesday – Work from 4pm-8pm and complete homework when home

Wednesday – Work from 4pm-8pm and complete homework when home

Thursday – Afternoon snack and shopping, study notes and assessment work

Friday – Group study session

Saturday – Work from 7am-12pm, complete study notes/assessment work during the afternoon and go to a party or out for dinner

Sunday – Study notes and assessment work

The piece of advice I’ve found influential from Mary Poppins is ensuring you always have time to do something fun for yourself. Here, I insert a cheesy teacher/parent quote – “HSC does not define your whole life.” So, you should go to the party, and you should treat yourself with a trip to Krispy Kreme every now and then (anyone keen?). 

Lesson #4: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”




I might just be about to get real deep, but I think this lesson from Bambi is overlooked so much in schools, having experienced it first hand.

Picture this, you’ve gotten your Math Half Yearly marks back, and you’re kind of bummed, they weren’t what you were hoping for. You find your friends after class and they are pretty happy with their results. They passed, they achieved their goal. At recess and lunch, you sit complaining about your exam marks – dulling the mood of your friends.

Of course it’s okay to be disappointed, but understanding that your mood can affect someone else’s confidence in their own performance is crucial.

This works vice versa also, you might be extremely happy with your results, while another friend is disappointed, its awesome to be proud of yourself, but gloating in front of others may make them doubt themselves even further.

A positive, encouraging and supportive environment is the best way to help each other smash out school together!

Lesson #5: “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this.”




Stress. Yep, we all feel it. If you are a superhuman who is not at all stressed about the rest of the year ahead, we need to have a chat because I want to know your secret.

But in the meantime, for the rest of us, I’ve gathered together some stress relieving remedies I’ve learn’t from teachers, friends, family and even work customers to help us all out in those ice-cream induced, Netflix binged and cried out meltdowns to come.

Green Tea

It really does work. I don’t know about you, but when I walk past T2 at my local shopping centre, I’m usually the one who walks a bit quicker to get away from the extremely weird smells. So as you can imagine, I was a bit hesitant when my English teacher told me I should start drinking green tea. And no, I still haven’t had the courage to sip tea from those little, orange, mysterious, T2 tester cups, but Twining’s Pure Green Tea bags from Coles do just the trick! (and you can get 100 for roughly $10!)

Not only do I feel relaxed, nourished but I feel ready to sit at my desk and get my study done! (FYI: ditch the Red Bull.)


Another tip to deal with stress, is exercise. As I mentioned before, I’ve never been a sporty person, and I don’t plan to race at the Olympics any time soon, but a slow paced run, listening to my favourite beats on a Friday afternoon is just the way to stop thinking about anything other than the gravel ahead of you. (Don’t knock it til you try it!)

Taking it One Day at a Time

Finally, a handy hint I’ve quickly picked up from my Mum! About a month ago I was saying things to her like, “Hey Mum, this time next year I’ll know what ATAR I got,” or “Hey Mum, this time next year I’ll be finished half yearlies, trials and the HSC!”. Before you know it, I was so scared and stressed about what was to come when I looked at it all together. How on earth could I get through this?

Each and every time I went through a meltdown like this, my Mum, without fail, answered, “Take it one day at a time.”

Well, that wasn’t so hard, there’s only 5 periods in one day, I can do that. So, if you feel overwhelmed looking at the big picture, stop and try to look at it one day at a time – and you can stress about tomorrow…tomorrow!

You can handle this.

This might have been a lot of advice to take in, and not all these strategies work for everyone, plus – it’s Year 12 and you might have already found your grooveNevertheless, if you can remember at least one of these lessons, it could make a whole lot of difference! I know it already has for me.

If not, there’s always hundreds of other Disney movies you can gain inspiration from! However, I wouldn’t advise following the path of Sleeping Beauty, and napping all the way through 2017 (just a thought!)


Good Luck!

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Hayley Tighe is a Year 12 student who enjoys going to the cinemas, but most especially the drive in. Choosing to study both Extension English 1 & 2 for Year 12 was one of the best decisions she’s made this year – besides saving up to buy her very much loved car!