School daze will fade as life gets exciting
THIS week a fresh class of Territory teens has been let loose into the world after receiving their Year 12 results.
For many, the coming days will be an odd mix of celebrating freedom and mourning the end of an era.
There’s no need for nostalgia, I’ll let you in on a secret: school is not the best years of your life. NOWis the best time of your life.
That period between school and whatever is next.
It’s a small window of carefree joy before real responsibility and the pressure of life lived independently sets in.
Spending the summer with your mates before you all set off on different paths, pondering what each of you will make of yourselves — make sure you appreciate it.
You will, of course, face that question most-hated by recent graduates: ‘‘What are you going to do with your life?’’ This is often posed by well- meaning aunts and friends of your parents who have no idea the angst that it creates.
If I am asked that question now, 18 years post- high school graduation, I still don’t know the answer. At 17 my only aim was to turn 18, and since then I’ve bounced around directionless like a broken compass, but it’s been a great adventure.
Of my school mates, very few are doing what they wrote in their school yearbook under that preposterous section ‘‘ where will you be in 10 years’ time’’.
This is not a sign of lost dreams or lack of success. Just as you aren’t who you were at the end of primary school, in a few years’ time you won’t be the person you are now. Your plans change.
I’m not going to lie; the whole new world you are about to face will shock you.
Decisions will no longer be made for you, life doesn’t come with ready- made friends and enemies — you will have to take time to figure people out, and authoritative figures won’t always coddle you with feel-good, PC comments which are designed to boost your ego.
On the upside, those rigid timetables are a thing of the past and mundane enforced subjects like maths ( who needs that?) will no longer rule your life.
And best of all, once you step outside that gate, everyone is on an even playing field. I went to a school where the popular kids weren’t smart and the smart kids weren’t popular.
For the latter, this changes dramatically once the final school bell has rung. Suddenly that strange social structure of school — where uniqueness isn’t celebrated, it gets beat up— disappears.
You’re free to be the person you always have been, not the boxed-in version of you invented by someone else way back in Year 7. LTHOUGH you’ve learned a lot over the past 12 years of schooling, there is still so much you don’t know.
When I finished school I knew little about drinking sensibly or cooking a balanced meal. And I was terrified of making poor decisions or not being good enough in the ‘real world’.
So I’ve compiled a few points I would say to my 17- year- old self, stepping
Atimidly into a world unknown, in hopes that it might help our newly graduated Territorians entering into the next phase of life.
Forget the popular kids — the pimple-free girls with the nice hair and up- to- date wardrobes. These people all peaked in high school. You’ll be exploring Africa while those girls get knocked up. You’ll have visited 15 countries by the time they’re on to their second marriage.
The guys you wished would notice you will soon have beer bellies and bad tattoos. And when you actually do, years down the track, have a conversation with them or befriend them on Facebook, you realise they are dumb arses and you’ve totally dodged a bullet there.
Stop feeling guilty about the students you failed to stick up for — the overweight, shy ones with red hair and acne who copped it every day. They will go on to be the UN secretary general, or something similar. These people often thrive outside the school environment. You will be happy to hear of their success.
You might not get the marks you needed, but you will still get where you want to go in a roundabout way. Of course, when you get there, you may realise that it’s not where you want to be at all. But that’s OK, you will work it out.
Don’t feel nervous about uni— it will be the best thing that ever happened to you. Sure there’s a bit of hard work involved, but inbetween that you will be living with a bunch of mates, going to see bands and going out dancing till 5am. Far superior to school.
Don’t worry for your friends who stuffed up their final year, the ones you know are capable of more. You are right, they are capable of more and they will achieve it — even if they have to work at Maccas for a few years before they figure it out.
Appreciate your part-time job at Wendys. Little do you know, this is one of the best jobs you will ever have: 15 hours a week and free ice cream. If only you weren’t more ambitious.
In bad news, pimples don’t cease post-teen and getting into nightclubs isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Territory graduates, you should be proud of what you’ve achieved in completing your secondary education. It is no easy feat.
You might be ecstatic school days are behind you, but always be grateful for them too. Had you been born in another country, or indeed just a few hundred kilometres in any direction from Darwin, your life might look very different right now.
Congratulations to the Class of 2013.
Followmeon Twitter @KylieMStevenson
In good news for Territory high school graduates, you’re about to have the time of your life. In bad news, the pimples don’t stop