By Luke Kiosoglous, Year 12:
It’s 8.00am! I can still sleep in a little longer. Beats waking up at 7.00am. I don’t even walk to School anymore; School comes to me.
The future is now, I guess. I am still having the same toast for breakfast as I have for years, but now I can enjoy it in the mornings and savour each bite. Isolation is so calm … instead of rushing halfway across the School from Chemistry to English, my next class is a mere two clicks away. I could get used to this.
Yet, for all the calm, there are intense bursts of stress; the tests that count towards our end-of-year results, known as SACs – we must now do online. As if worrying about preparing for them is not enough, now I have to make sure I follow the ever-changing rules of online SACs. All Year 12s have to do these tests digitally, which by virtue of being online, makes one of the most stressful parts of Year 12 even more intense.
That’s not to say that I am overwhelmed. In fact, quite the opposite. While SACs are particularly stressful, being organised is more important to me than ever, knowing what I need to do and how to do it is what keeps me grounded, and adds some semblance of normality to these peculiar times.
To relax, I sit by the fireplace with my dog. At least, while stuck at home, I can be with my family and enjoy the ‘medieval television’, as my dad likes to call it.
I may only live a few kilometres from most of my friends, but we have never been further apart. All the digital connection cannot replace the once daily physical connection we had.
Texting and facetime at lunch cannot replace a game of cards while chatting, where a winning move would be accompanied by laughter and smiles. While my friends are only a few button presses away, it is hard for me to remain connected in the same way I once did.
This is the longest period since first meeting at School when I arrived in Year 7 where we haven’t talked face-to-face.
My 18th birthday; instead of being surrounded by friends, it will be a quiet event with my household. This is disheartening as I was looking forward to spending time with my friends, and I can’t help but feel as though I have lost a part of the Year 12 experience.
I expected Year 12 to bring me and my friends together, as we savoured our last year of secondary school and the transition into adulthood. Instead, we can’t study together, can’t party together and we might not even graduate together.
At the start of this year, as a Year 12 cohort, we were encouraged to work together as a group to succeed. Now we are isolated from each other. Study groups, where we collaborate with each other, is a challenge during isolation.
I fear that without learning with my friends, I might not do as well in the end-of-year exams as I would otherwise. I worry about my ATAR because I learn better face-to-face. I hope I can still get into the engineering course I am aiming for.
For me, the most challenging aspect of these times is the uncertainty. When will exams be? Will Year 12 even finish this year? How do I get my driving hours? These concerns add to the stress. But I think both my peers and I, with the support of our teachers, are quickly becoming resilient and adaptable.
Yes, we have struggled to adjust to the impact on both our education and socialisation, but we have bounced back from the initial stresses of digital learning. It is hard to learn online, and digital tests are stressful, but we are resilient and can overcome this.
Staying connected with each other, and looking out for one another, is especially important during these times of isolation. We cannot let our last year of Senior School be a lonely one. While we are now more prepared to face a digital future, change comes with challenges, and we must support each other through it.