Dear Current Year 12’s

Your situation was never predicted. From day one of your senior year to now, I think we can all admit that there have been a few changes; some of them drastic, some of them minor. No matter the degree of change, your senior year looks a little different to the ones you have watched before.

You have moved from a classroom, with peers, teachers and tactile resources to a virtual classroom at home with parents, siblings and distractions. Exams, assignments and daily schedules have all been adjusted to suit our ‘new normal’, but I’m sure nothing feels normal.

The feeling like you may have lost something is warranted, because unfortunately in a way you may have. For some, it may be a routine, a lifestyle or a ‘normal’ senior year. And for that, it’s okay to be upset.

It’s okay to miss the senior traditions you were looking forward to. It’s okay to miss the in-class discussion of peers. It’s okay to miss the lunchtime banter or tuckshop run with friends. And it’s okay to be angry or annoyed.

With this ‘new normal’ you find yourselves in, it comes with a new expectation of your senior year. A different year, but not a lesser year. It’s important to embrace your next few months of the last at school with determination, rather than use the time left to wonder what could have been.

Think back to your first day of high school (the large itchy uniform and all). You were placed in a new environment, with social, academic and mental challenges. Your schedules were changed, new formats of study needed to be learnt and a new set of mundane tasks were introduced. Standing at the gate, I’m sure some of you imagined what the next few years would look like and even where you would end up at the end of it all. Adjust your expectation, because if there’s one thing you’ve learnt from standing there that day to now, it’s how to resolve and embrace unpredicted and at times unwanted situations. I challenge you to do this now.

Whilst your teachers may be more than 1.5 metres away, they’re still your teachers. Be willing to take their advice and listen to the suggestions they offer. They may not have been through this themselves, but they’re the ones helping you get through this now.

To your fellow peers and younger students, they’re with you. It may be easy to dismiss their anger to prioritise yours, but they’re in a virtual classroom too. Their disappointment is just as valid, so don’t let the status of a ‘Senior’ cloud the need to stand together.

It may not be comforting to hear at this current point, but everything will be OK. As a ‘COVID Graduate,’ the idea of adversity will seem a little less and anything further will be a reminder of what you have overcome. The obstacles faced throughout your senior year and the optimism at which you faced them with, will stand above the senior years before you.

Stay focused, remain positive and look forward, but do not look back on your senior year in disappointment.