We are halfway through the 2018 school year. What better time to reflect on the first two terms, and contemplate the two to come? I’m here to let you know what is great and not-so-great about the Year 13, based on my own experience in it.

The Great:

  • Finally, school is almost over – you’re nearly free! This is the main advantage. Year after year of high school has become exceedingly tedious, so being close to the end is exciting! It’s not long before you can move on with your life, and begin to build your future. You’re one step away from finally escaping.
  • There are more opportunities and privileges. Opportunities comprise mainly leadership roles. You could be a Head student, or a Prefect – something important! In terms of privileges, you will likely get more stuff. Most importantly: free periods. Maybe you’ll get a common room dedicated to your year group. Of course, this is all dependent on your school, but generally, Year 13’s get something extra that other year groups don’t.
  • You’re probably closer to your peers. I attend one of those tiny rural schools where everyone knows everyone – a minute community. Even without this ‘tight-knittedness’, Year 13’s have this weird bond – we’re all a bit unsure and a bit stressed, but we’re happy to complain to and support each other through what no other year level can yet understand.
  • You get more independence – you aren’t spoon fed instructions anymore, thank goodness. Some can’t handle not being micro-managed, but many are grateful for the freedom to thrive independently. It’s a blessing to be treated more like your age.

The Not-So-Great:

  • The year drags on. You’re so close yet so far from freedom. Everyone is restless, ready to jump out of the school gates. In your head, you (ideally) have a layout of your next year and are really excited to go start it. Then, you realise there are aeons of remaining school days to endure before it can come into actuality. That makes the days go pretty slowly.
  • The content gets more difficult. A lot of people give up in Year 13, letting it be a ‘mess-around’ year. I was always told it was going to be the easiest year of school because apparently, I would be too busy having the time of my life to care about internals. Oh boy, how wrong that was. The workload doesn’t end – there is a definite increase in volume and difficulty from Year 12. It gets worse, not better, even with all the free periods.
  • You have to decide on your future. If you don’t have your next few years sussed, people will let you know how urgent it is you figure it out. There will be frequent reminders that you’re running out of time. Remember all those moments you had no idea what to do after school? You weren’t worried, of course, because you had ages, years, in fact, to figure it out. Well, that time is finally up for you. There are no more safety years to hide behind – it’s decision time, and you’d better choose something good.
  • There’s more to take up your time. Whether it’s leadership roles, extra meetings, university applications or just the workload, you are given more responsibility, and therefore your time is eaten up rather quickly. This induces a lot of stress because with so much going on, it can get overwhelming.
  • It’s petrifying. It’s not only school you worry about leaving, but your friends, your home, your comfort zone. After existing in the same situation for 6 years, the thought of doing something completely different isn’t easy to process.

As you can see, Year 13 has many positives, but also a relatively long list of negatives. If you’re in Year 13 now, good luck for the remainder of it, and for next year. If you’re a younger student, I hope this intel was interesting to you and that your final school year, when it comes, is enjoyable.

Sarah is a Year 13 student who loves writing and the subject of English. She intends on one day becoming an Editor or a Technical Writer.

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