We all remember that moment. When you’re in one of your final assemblies as a Year 11 student.
During Ruby’s Year 12 Journey, her motto was ‘Year 12 is a marathon, not a sprint’. Sure, you might go nodding your head and agree with the idea — but, it’s not truly until you’re in the thick of Year 12 that you understand what that motto really means.
Finding yourself in a bunch of challenges around you, with no idea on how to solve any of them is daunting.
Whether or not you’re in that situation, the good news that we’ve got five tips from Ruby on how to make the most of your Year 12 Journey! So let’s jump in!
Tip #1: Managing your workload
One of the biggest challenges in Year 12 is managing your workload. It is true that your final Year of high school can be a lot at times.
Ruby was no exception, but she realised that being able to overcome the challenge of a large workload can help you reach success in your Year 12 journey!
So, how do she do it? Managing your workload in Year 12 involves a few key things:
- Dropping subjects if you need to
- Ensuring that you stay up to date
- Staying on task
Ruby reflected this sentiment, telling us, “I changed visual arts [in Year 11] because I didn’t want to do all those major works…I didn’t want to spread myself too thin.”
Elaborating on that, she said “I thought I could better use my time, my energy on the subjects that I really enjoyed and go well at those.”
This effective workload management worked in Ruby’s favour for her Year 12 journey: “I could have a lot more free periods [by dropping 4 and 3 unit English]….and just in terms of getting feedback from my teachers, I could get feedback from one or two as opposed to six or seven.”
Tip #2: Planning your time and holding yourself accountable
Following on from Ruby’s first tip, planning your time and holding yourself accountable for all your upcoming work is a key factor in being able to succeed in your HSC year!
Theoretically, this is easy — but, planning your time and actually completing the work you have allocated for yourself can be a tricky and tedious process.
How exactly do you do it? Some steps that Ruby took during her Year 12 journey were:
- Having someone (a friend, parent) keep you accountable for the work that you were supposed to complete
- Create a list of items that you must finish for the day (cap it at about 3-4 things)
- Take plenty of breaks
- Represent your tasks visually
Adding onto this, Ruby says, “just being able to map it out [a schedule] and putting all my homework and assessments coming up gave me a visual representation of the things I needed to stick to.”
Tip #3: Getting into a good routine
For Ruby, giving yourself structure and routine is probably one of the sure-fire ways to maintain a good work life balance, get work done, and manage your time effectively during your Year 12 Journey.
Having a good routine means anything from ensuring that you have a consistent and well thought out sleep schedule, eating balanced meals regularly, staying hydrated, having some sort of physical activity, to keeping in touch with your favourite activities!
Ruby commented that how blocking out time for studying different subjects for every week helped her stay organised and keep up a good study routine.
Having a stable and balanced routine doesn’t only be able to get more work done in an efficient manner. It means you’ll ensure that you’re maintaining a healthy balance during your final year of high school.
Tip #4: ‘Break down the watermelon’
There will be times during Year 12 where you might receive an assignment or even cover a topic that may seem super daunting or be one that you don’t understand. A good technique to try and overcome this type of challenge is to ‘break down the watermelon’. But what do we mean by this?
As you probably can imagine, a watermelon is not the easiest fruit to eat as a whole — it’s large and there is no real way you can approach it. It’s only once you chop it up into smaller pieces is it when you are able to get to the flesh!
So, as this watermelon analogy goes, big problems and tasks work like this too!
Having a large and difficult task at hand may lead to procrastination, stress and anxiety especially if you don’t know how to tackle it. So, breaking the task up into various smaller pieces and working on those separately will help you achieve your task with minimal procrastination and stress!
We’ll take the example of studying for English, where you encounter a difficult essay question. Instead of staring at the question, feeling overwhelmed, you can take these steps to break down the task!
- Underline the key words
- Note the links to the syllabus
- Consider your personal take on the question and the arguments you would propose
- Gather evidence to back up your points
- Write down your thesis statement and your topic sentences
- Build your essay around these planned out ideas!
Okay, so this technique isn’t exclusive to just English! You can utilise this technique in pretty much any subject, even maths.
For example, if you were struggling with trigonometry, something you might want to do would be to separate your study by the types of trig questions you may get, in turn, improving your knowledge on trig as a whole.
To bottle it all down, Ruby tell us that her ‘watermelon’ technique is simply saying “you’ve got this big assessment, and you sort of break it down into smaller bits.”
Ruby mentioned how this technique can even be used toward exam preparation, mentioning “whether it was submitting one or two questions from the start of the term rather than the end was super helpful.”
Tip #5: Be kind to yourself
Lastly, one of Ruby’s biggest challenges that she came against during her Year 12 journey was herself and her mindset!
More likely than not, you’ll be too harsh on yourself, diminish your successes and remain discontent with what you have achieved. This can be harmful not only to your mental health but to your motivation and satisfaction as you continue through Year 12.
So, how do you overcome this?
Well, the simplest thing that you can do is to be kind to yourself! Celebrate every success you have, even if it’s small, realise that Year 12 is not the be all and end all, and have a growth mindset so that you know mistakes only give you more room to grow as opposed to being failures that you can’t come back from!
“Making sure you’re taking care of your physical health, mental health, spending time with your family and friends [is very important]” says Ruby.
Looking for some extra help with your studies?
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To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today!
Yasmin Hasan is a current first year psychology student at UNSW. She loves making art, playing piano or reading in her spare time. She graduated from high school in 2021 so her memories of her own high school experience are still quite fresh. She would love to use her own experiences to help other students build their confidence and improve in their academics!