Shire Matters with Mark Speakman | HSC Time - Lots to celebrate and still lots to learn

Former Caringbah High School student Mark Speakman in his HSC formal attire.

Former Caringbah High School student Mark Speakman in his HSC formal attire.

This week more than 60,000 students across our state see their last high school classroom. If you're one of them, you'll know very well the climb up that mountain isn't over yet.

The first of the HSC written exams starts in less than a month. You might be feeling that only after your results come back in the middle of December, can you look from that summit and catch a glimpse of the future before you.

As likely as not, you're overwhelmed at the size of the task and believe fervently that the path your life takes from here depends entirely on half a dozen or so exams after the most tumultuous school year in living memory.

You've only recently learnt that a formal might just be possible, but the prospect of blowing off steam during a schoolies excursion beyond NSW's borders is still elusive at best.

Little wonder you might be feeling apprehensive, anxious, even a bit angry about how 2020 is turning out and how that will affect your choices in life.

The most important thing to remember, as you break from school and prepare for those exams, is to look after yourself. Physically, socially and mentally. Take each task one step at a time. If it's becoming too much, reach out for help.

The HSC doesn't determine your life. You do. If it means your first choice isn't open, there are plenty of alternatives. There's every reason to feel a sense of true accomplishment as you end your school lives and reflect on all you've learnt and experienced.

Think too about the dedication of the teachers that guided you through these 13 years, like those who taught me at Caringbah High. Whatever happens, at that formal, you'll look a lot better than me!