It has begun. After 13 years of formal education, too many lost hats, spilt lunch boxes through schoolbags and magenta printer cartridges to count, the HSC exams are here.
As I sit at work, I have one sitting her first exam right now and I am so unbelievably proud of her and every Year 12 student who has stuck out a year of undeniable stress, high expectations and (parental) meddling.
My worst nightmares involve sitting an exam naked. Or sitting an exam in a towel that can either cover my top half or my bottom (decisions, decisions). Or not being able to find the room where I am sitting an exam. Or forgetting to study and arriving to school only to discover I have an exam.
When she saw that her son wasn’t preparing for his exams, one mum took to his favourite club’s Facebook page. Post continues…
Exams are, to state the obvious, no fun and the stuff of nightmares.
And for Year 12 students they are real. They have dominated their lives for a year now. They have dictated family holidays. They have caused anxiety, stress, frustration, orders for special kinds of pens, fights, tears, slammed doors and requests for “ice cream that normal people would eat”.
It has been a mammoth effort of perseverance, hard work, controlling impulses (that's tough for anyone let alone Year 12s) and trying to keep in check the most heightened of negative emotions. There are many things to say about those final Year 12 exams; big, small and in between, but today this is what sticks with me.
I look at my daughter, her friends, the kids who she started her first day of Kindergarten and they have kept standing and kept going.
Keeping standing and keeping going aren't what Aunties, Grandparents and family friends have quizzed them about over the last long months but both will serve them - so much better than an HSC mark will - when life, inevitably, stings and maybe even burns.
They have endured, they have been tested before exams even begin and I am so proud of them all.
Is your child sitting their final Year 12 exams? Do you think they've learned some life skills along the way?