10 Tips for Dealing with a Year 12 Student

***Disclaimer: I would like to officially, whole-heartedly state for the record that I write in terms of adults in general, and I am actually incredibly lucky to have parents who can ‘deal with me’ perfectly. 
Have I covered myself enough with that?
Love you Mum and Dad!
You’re perfect!
This isn’t you!

As a 17 year old, currently completing my final year of school – Year 12 – take it from someone who knows. Here are my top ten terrific tips (how’s that for alliteration?) for dealing with Year 12s such as myself.

1. Do not ask about next year.

There seems to be a general assumption that teenagers as a whole, and specifically those studying Year 12, are incapable of conducting a normal, polite conversation without bursting into a fit of stressful tears or shuffling our feet and muttering “Well, like, I totally wanna…..like… I dunno, maybe like… go to uni … or something”.  As a result of this, all Year 12s can predict that the minute they talk to an adult they do not see on a regular basis, we will face the inevitable question; “So, what are you hoping to do next year?”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a perfectly polite and reasonable question.  All I am saying is, if you have ANY other ideas about conversation starters, USE THEM. 

Anything at all.

2. Recognise we’re not all monsters.

Okay, so I’ll admit on behalf of all Year 12s that sometimes our personality can change a little during this year.  Alright, a lot.  Some people can be quite big stress heads, and the pressure and/or stress can sometimes lead to uncharacteristic behaviour… or, threats of physical violence.

But my point is, not every Year 12 is like this.  Just realise that we don’t need to be avoided like the plague when we’re approaching an assessment task.   Most of us do have the social skills to restrain ourselves from emotional outbursts, so don’t lump us in with the lowest common denominator, okay?

3. Don’t add to the pressure.

You’d be surprised by the amount of pressure that Year 12s are under.  In most cases, it’s not a problem.  The coping mechanisms are finely tuned from our fallings-out and breakings-up and experimentations with the ’emo’ lifestyle of black clothing and heavy eye make-up. 

Year 12 can bring a bit of extra pressure, however, and much of this is what we place on ourselves.  So, my suggestion is that in most cases, we don’t really need the reminder that we have a SAC tomorrow or an exam next week or homework due at the end of the week.  We know.  Constant reminders, whilst having helpful motives, can result in urges to throw heavy objects out of high windows.

4. If all else fails, milk the procrastination.

Sometimes, good intentions fall in a hole.  Plans that start as “I’m going to spend all weekend studying for this test” can morph into “I’ll spend a couple of hours each day studying for this test”, then into “I’ll spend Sunday studying for this test”, then into “I’ll read over my notes of Sunday night for this test” and can eventuate as “What test?”.

Procrastination is the enemy of all Year 12 students.  I mean, take me as an example.  I couldn’t bring myself to study any more for my exams, so I started a blog.

It can be frustrating watching people waste their time, but if things become desperate, make the most of it.  You’d be surprised just how much housework Year 12s are willing to do to avoid homework.  So milk it.  Pose chores as an opportunity to escape study and we will love you for it.

5. Don’t tell us about when you were in Year 12.

It’s simple.  All due respect, but it doesn’t help.

6. Recognise the need for escape.

This is a bit of an amalgamation of points 3 and 4, but it stands alone.  Sometimes, we just need to forget about Year 12 for a while.  It does not mean we are giving up on our studies and choosing a life of crime or homelessness, it’s just taking a necessary sanity break.  One afternoon of hot chocolate and F.R.I.E.N.D.S  DVDs does not equal instant failure.

7. Let us freak out once in a while.

Again, similar to some previous points, but worth the reiteration.  Even the most chilled out student has their moments.  I am one of these people.  As a general rule, I don’t “stress out”.  But occasionally I just need to have a little flip out to let some stuff go.  And it all works for the best.  The worst phrase you can utter to a Year 12 student is “Don’t stress”. 

8. Learn the jargon.

There are few things more frustrating than continually reteaching your parents the lingo of Year 12.  For example, I am studying VCE – the Victorian Certificate of Education.   Today I had a SAC – School Assessed Coursework.  Last week I sat the GAT – General Achievement Test, which is sent to VCAA – Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority – for moderation.  At the end of the year, I will receive an ATAR score – Australian Tertiary Admission Ranking. 

We don’t expect you to be experts – that’s our job.  Just try and remember the basics to avoid some serious and potentially lethal eye-rolling.

9. Let us study the way we learn.

This is fairly straight forward.  Concern is warranted if your Year 12 student suddenly decides that seeing Toy Story 3 with 37 friends is beneficial for their Chemistry studies, but if they are making posters, writing songs, crafting palm cards or asking you to test them on definitions, just don’t poke the bear.

10. Accept this apology on our behalf.

Having said all of the above, Year 12 is not the be-all and end-all.  We do know that, we just lose sight of it every now and then.  And we do appreciate that you have our best interests at heart. 

So on behalf of my thousands of classmates, I apologise.


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