‘What I want to tell HSC students: don’t stress. But don’t cruise.’

I’ve been having a one-sided love affair with NSW Premier Mike Baird (one-sided because he’s a devout Christian and, you know, happily married. Also, we’ve never met).

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The utter sincerity of his reaction around the Lindt Cafe siege, his daggy dad tweets about The Bachelor, the fact that he just seems to be getting on with things without the strutting and sound grabs of so many of Australia’s pollies had won me over.

NSW Premier, Mike Baird. Image: Twitter.

But today, I'm torn. And all because he posted this on his Facebook page:

Back when I was in school, a typical report card said something like "Mike talks too much in class."

Truth be told, I was much more interested in catching waves (and girls) than studying... and my HSC results were average at best.

Not too long after my school days were over, I met Kerryn on a beach down the south coast... And school was suddenly a distant memory!

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Here's the truth of it... Life isn't defined by your exams. It begins after they are finished.

It's always important to give everything you do your very best shot, but make sure you keep some perspective. When you walk out of that final exam, you've got the world at your feet... And most of us oldies will tell you that your best days are yet to come.

Good luck guys.

The sentiment, the optimism of what he writes, is everything I want to believe.

In 12 months time, we will be one of those families with a kid doing the HSC. Because the kid in question lives part of the time with his mum, and part of the time with us, there's a lot to negotiate. Should he continue to move between homes, or should he stay in one place? How can we make sure both houses are consistent, that our expectations of how hard he'll work and when he'll play are the same so he doesn't blow out at one house and stress out at the other? What role should I play - if I play any at all?

And most of all, how will we all manage the stress? Because that's pretty much all I hear about - the almighty level of stress that comes with HSC year, for both the kids doing it and anyone within a 50m radius of them. Stress that plays out for months at levels that have some kids dropping No Doz and Ritalin to enhance their ability to study. I have friends who've put their whole life on hold for the HSC year. How did it get to this??

Baird shared this throwback of him and his wife on Twitter.

On one hand, Baird's message gave me (and parents across the state) hope. If he could goof off surfing and perving in his last year at school, and still become premier, there's a chance for anyone. Isn't there? I mean, sure, he was obviously not on complete cruise control - whatever happened in that last year, he did well enough to get into uni, and then did well enough after that to succeed in banking doing things I can't even translate - "securitisation, debt capital markets and project finance". And he didn't just do them in Australia - he did them in London and Hong Kong too.

And hallelujah to his comments on perspective. We can all do with a bit of that.

But the part of his message that resonated most strongly for me was the part about giving it your best shot. Our HSC student doesn't have a clue what he wants to do when he leaves school next year. His dad is very much of the Baird school of thought - don't worry too much. Whatever happens, life will turn out.

Mia Freedman and other media personalities have joined ReachOut.com to show that there is a life after Year 12. Watch the video below. Post continues after video.

I'm not so sure. But what if he cruises, then finds he doesn't have the marks to get into the course that he wants to do? What if he thinks he wants to do one thing, then decides he wants to do another?

What if he has to live with the regret he didn't try hard enough?

In the end, of course, it's up to him. He's now of an age where he will chart his own course, and the best we can do is offer support and encouragement.

In my heart, I hope he's like Mike Baird - looking at girls and having the time of his life now he's heading toward independence and a life of his own.

But in my head, I want him to work just hard enough to take him wherever he wants to go.

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