To all the year 12 students currently completing your exams, I know, I know. You’ve all heard it before, approximately 687 times this year, that these exams are not the end of the world.
“Don’t let a number define you” and “There is life after Year 12” have all become clichés of this final year of school.
You are all just ready to get these exams over and done with, ready to never put a school uniform on again and oh-so-ready to discover yourself in the real world.
I did the HSC; a system based on rankings and fierce competition. Where you are literally forced to compare yourself to everyone around you. A system where disappointment goes with the territory, just like mosquitoes go with summer.
During my Year 12 in 2015, I had some successes. Though more importantly, I had many, many disappointments. I was consumed with stress and exhaustion pretty much every single day of that year.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I look back on that year with such fondness. I was learning new things about the world, I was surrounded by people who were intelligent and ambitious, I had a newfound independence with my teachers and I achieved things I never thought I would be able to. (Oh, and I had my first legal drink).
LISTEN: An Adults Guide For Getting Through The HSC. Post continues after audio.
So for those of you who started your exams this week, and have felt distressed or discouraged because of them, I know it can be hard to find that energy to keep going.
Some of you may be feeling like there is just no way you could have passed your creative writing tasks, or you are feeling pretty down about the fact your mind went completely blank when trying to remember the essay you memorised the day before.
But, history has shown that failure is one of the most important factors in any success…
- JK Rowling’s legendary Harry Potter book series was rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury accepted it.
- Albert Einstein could not speak until he was four and couldn’t read until the age of seven. Oh, and he was expelled from school for being rebellious.
- Walt Disney was let go from Kansas City Star because they thought he lacked an imagination.
- Bill Gates dropped out of University.
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a TV anchor because she got too emotionally involved in her stories.
Now I’m not naïve enough to think that all failures can be turned into such triumphant successes.
But I think what it teaches you is that it is not the mistake that matters, but what you do after. So if completing Year 12 only taught me one thing, it is that failing is the best way to learn.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Ford.
Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess here…