Prioritising… It may be hard, but it’s so worth it

Prioritising is key in Year 12. If you don’t prioritise and organise your tasks effectively, you could find yourself under a load of stress. Just school alone can be stressful. Then add a social life on top of that, then sport, then work, then extra curricular activities…

Things are going to get pretty hectic.

You need to be able to give yourself some breathing space. Some extra time in the week to just relax and not be bound by extra commitments and stress. In this article I’m going to share my personal experience with prioritising and time management. I’m also going to try and give you some tips that I have used to help you with the battle between balancing school with extra-curricular activities.

For me, I’m trying to have my year not turn out a little something like this…

I knew that when I started year 12, I had to give up something I loved doing. I knew it was going to be tough, but I knew it needed to be done. It needed to be done because I knew I would not be able to handle the massive schedule I would have to undertake.

The only advantage I have over majority of my cohort, is that I don’t have job. I want one, just to have some money of my own, but my parents (surprisingly) won’t let me get a job, as they wan’t me to focus on school. That is one less commitment I have outside of school. I am currently the lead in our school musical, so that played a major role in me having to drop something I loved doing – sport. I had played league tag for around 5 years, and I knew deep down I couldn’t do it again in year 12. Trainings are twice a week, and the games are on Sundays. Factor in school, the musical practices and having a social life, sport just couldn’t fit in.

It’s going to be different for everyone, discovering what you can and can’t continue doing, but it’s gonna suck either way. However, deciding not to commit to sport opened up a lot of free time in my schedule. Which I believe will benefit me in the long run. To get another perspective, I decided to ask my friends how they all think they go with time management, and I got some interesting responses:

E: ‘I think I go well with time management but I’m forever thinking of things I need to do ahead of time, all the time which makes you more anxious and stressed out in the present. I would just say for me it’s important that everyday I give myself a little bit of time to do something I want to do and spend time with family.’


M: ‘I don’t think I do as well as I would if I spent more time on my school work, I’m just lazy and unmotivated but if I could find the motivation to devote more time to my school work I think I would get much higher marks’


H: ‘I think that planning and devoting specific time is really good. Having a schedule that is regularly followed makes it easier to be motivated because it just becomes part of your daily routine’


J: ‘I’m terrible at time management and even worse with prioritising. I don’t think I started anything earlier than a week before they were due and never finished them until the night before!’

School is not everybody’s thing, and thats okay. However, to make it easier for yourself, it’s clear that you need to find some structure that works for you. Not everyone can devote 3 hours of just study (not homework) a night. Some of us find it generally impossible. Here I have complied 3 easy tips that may help you find school a little easier, whilst also helping with prioritising.

Tip #1 – Prioritise

Year 12 is not the be all and end all, but the year can be a lot easier if you start to figure out what’s most important to you. You need to decide what you value more, either sport, a social life, working, or any other activities you may take part in. It’s obvious that you’re going to have to rearrange your schedule and shuffle things around so you can get the best possible outcome for your studies.

Don’t try to overthink it all. Just see how everything works out, and if you notice that you need to make some adjustments, consider it carefully!

Year 12 is a massive year, not just regarding school, but your social life. Everyone starts to turn 18, there are debutante balls (in my town anyway), and everyone starts to gain more freedom and independence. This can sometimes be so overwhelming, that you forget to devote time to school and your studies. Which, consequently, will result negatively on your confidence leading up to the HSC. For me, I know I need to devote more time than every to studying. Year 12 is such a major year, but don’t burn yourself out! It’s really not worth it!

Try to find a positive balance between school and social life.

An ex-high school student came to give a speech to my boyfriend’s year, giving his personal experience during the HSC. This man stated that he devoted his whole year to study. He palmed off his friends, didn’t celebrate his 18th, and broke up with his girlfriend. All in an effort to get that ‘perfect’ HSC result. After the results were published, he met with all of his school friends, and they discussed their marks. He found out that he went worse than majority of his cohort that had a balance between school and outside of school.

Moral of the story, don’t give up what makes you happy.

Tip #2 – Keep track

We all know that the workload in year 12 is massive, so it’s vital that you keep an up to date record of the work that needs to be done and when by. You really don’t want to fall behind in Year 12! Even if you leave either homework or an assessment for a couple of days, it will come creeping back up in you faster than ever and bite you on the bum!

It’s crucial that you work on your tasks as soon as you get them, and hand them in as soon as they’re due, not a day later. If you don’t write down and keep track of your tasks, you could fall into the vicious cycle of falling behind and having to spend precious time catching up instead of spending that time getting ahead and doing extra study.

Some of my friends have major trouble with keeping track of their tasks and homework, and it does come with a massive burden. Some of the class has moved ahead, while some are still falling behind. Being in year 12, the teacher isn’t going to hold everything and stop and wait for you – you and everyone else have to keep chugging along. Assessments are also a major deal in year 12, and they can creep up out of no where. Some of my friends have all their assessments due in a time span of 2 weeks. Some of them find it really hard to do it all, but the key is starting your tasks earlier. Even if you get the assessment 4 weeks before it’s due, start it. Get ahead. Don’t be stuck a week before it’s due having to complete 4 assessments.

The bottom line is, don’t fall behind.

Tip #3 – Try to relax!

Do you ever feel like this after a long, straining day of school?

Chances are that school is impacting your emotional state quite strongly and result in angry outbursts brought on by stress. I myself, am quite a little anger pot. I feel for my family, as I’m really not meaning to be angry, but sometimes it just gets the better of me. I constantly feel a lot of pressure that I’ve got to do well not just myself, but for my family.

I had never achieved high academically until Year 11, and now my family expect a whole lot more from me. I wouldn’t say they put me under pressure, but I definitely put myself under pressure, and it’s not healthy.

As I’ve already mentioned, school isn’t the end of the world. That statement is what I try to drill into my head whenever I believe I’m starting to stress myself out. I know that I want to do well, but I’m not willing to harm myself along the way by allowing myself to burn out and react negatively to Year 12.

My advice is to try and enjoy the year as much as you can. It’s your last year of schooling with your friends. No more seeing them 5 days a week or the awesome canteen food. Allow yourself to breathe and understand that you’re going to get through the HSC. It’s all in moderation.

Enjoy the final experiences school has to offer, don’t take it for granted.

Do the things that make you happy. I have seen a lot of my friends completely melt down during senior schooling and it’s hard to see as it’s not worth it. I know school is more important to some people than others, but take care of yourself. At the end of the day, you need to care more about your health. Many of my teachers have said that your health comes first.

School is not worth compromising your health and well-being. Try and enjoy the year as much as you can, as it will all end before you know it!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, prioritising is key in Year 12. If you organise and manage your time effectively, you should be able to find more time to do things that make you happy. Be sure to find that positive balance between school and other commitments.

School isn’t everything, and you deserve to do things that make you happy. It’s all about finding what works for you. Don’t worry about what your other classmates do, focus on you. See if you can find some extra hours throughout the week to focus on just committing things to memory. Learn your syllabus inside out, and compile constant study notes.

A current teacher of mine told me that realistically, we should be working an extra 3 hours PER NIGHT on just studying. Not homework, not catchup, just pure study. Personally, I don’t find the time to do that as in my opinion it’s impossible. Some of you may already do that, and that’s awesome, it just wouldn’t work for me. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together guys.

Competing or not, we’re all completing our final year of schooling together, and it is key to help each other out.

Good Luck!

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Elli Gill is currently completing her final school year and decided she better help everyone else along the way. Her subjects are English Advanced, General Maths, Modern History, Ancient History, Business Studies and Legal Studies. She doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life, she is just taking it one day at a time. She also likes food, a lot of it.