The fingers of my hand dare not move from its position as it glides across the paper of my last exam. With only five minutes to go, I've just got to write my essay’s conclusion and pray for the absence of errors because I don’t have time to double check.
I let out a deep breath and put my pen down in the remaining ten seconds and think for a moment. This is the last time I’ll sit in this room and do an exam; The last few seconds signal the end of my exam and the last few moments of a high school student.
‘So…what happens next?’
In the following few paragraphs I’ll tell you what happened to me, although personal, I value being vulnerable. Some experiences I have shared with many but some are specific to just myself, but, looking at it holistically, I appreciate every single thing that happened.
Part 1: Late November – Early December 2015
I finished exams on the 18th of November 2015 and I felt absolutely nothing. Many felt relieved, overjoyed, anxious (about their ATAR) but, my emotions couldn't be labelled as any of that. Perhaps, I was ignorant and did not realize the array of challenges that will soon face me when I walk out the gates for the last time as a high school student.
Long story short, this is what happened in part 1:
1. Finished exams
2. Valedictory Night
3. 18th Birthday
4. Binge-watched movies and TV shows
5. Received ATAR
Part 2: Early December 2015 – Mid-January 2016
After being on the grind for a full year, it was time for me to let loose so, my best friend and I travelled to Queensland where we partook in various unlawful acts (we really didn’t - we’re not that rowdy). He and I pretty much trekked random trails, mountain climbing and swimming at local waterfalls, all of which were activities in Brisbane. Next came classic Schoolies on the Gold Coast. I've never done more rowdy things in my life but, non-regrettably, I cannot share the experiences with you as I swore an oath not to tell a soul.
Shortly after, our trip on the Gold Coast was finished, I travelled to India and spent a month there on a self-development/philosophical camp and then travelled back to Melbourne and commenced training for work.
Part 3: Mid-January 2016 – July 2016
If I wasn't relaxing, chilling out and waiting anxiously for university to start in March, I was either with good high school friends, or training for work.
When university started, everything every past student mentioned to me, started crystallising in my daily life and right before I knew it, I was a clueless jaffy (If you have no idea what this means, wait till first year uni, or search it up - whatever suits your fancy).
I won’t go on too much about university as there are previous articles that cover it in detail, but I will discuss what happens socially.
“You’ll find it hard to stay in touch with everyone and you’ll figure out who your true friends are.” - Pretty much every past student
Often, I went out with close friends from high school to someone's place for casual banter, partying and drinks but slowly, all the invites stopped and it seemed as if, I was not welcomed anymore to be a part of that exclusive fun. Having lost that sense of belonging that I felt with that group, the social side of my life was lacking.
Don’t get me wrong, I have an abundance of friends, but I was close to many in that group so losing that relationship between some of them was tough, it left a feeling of loneliness.
It seems like this article has turned into a diary entry... although, here at The Quintessential, we believe variety keeps things interesting.
Other than that, there’s plenty of enjoyment and fun going around in and outside of campus. The clubs, the parties, the sport, the corporate events, the lunches, the dinners, the work, all are things to look forward to indulging in. It’s a massive change from being limited to a small learning space when now, the whole campus, even the city becomes part of your life.
That was what happened next after high school for me and I'm sure for some others as well. Hopefully I didn't bore you with this piece, or add to your anxiety for what happens next but rather, given you an insight of the reality and difficulty of what happens next… For many it’s easy, not much of a change, you study, you go out and hang out with friends. For other’s it’s a full 180 filled with hardship, character development, success and failure.
“Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing, and work hard. The right people… the ones who really belong in your life, will come to you. And stay.”
~ Will Smith