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What I wish I knew in Year 12


For anyone going through their final high school year, it may feel like endless rounds of study, exams and hard choices. If only your future self could come back in time and tell you it was worth it, right?

Well, we don’t have a time machine handy, but we did ask second year Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts student, Kirsty Fealy, what she wished she knew in Year 12, and what life is really like on the other side.

If you could go back in time and give any advice to your Year 12 self, what would it be?

“I would tell myself to have faith in my abilities and that this year isn’t the be all and end all.

I treated Year 12 like it was the most important year of my life and I feared not doing well. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to take a breath and look at the big picture. There is more than one pathway into university, and it’s not worth compromising your mental and physical health to get that one score.

That’s not to say you don’t want to try your hardest, but taking time out with friends and family is only going to be beneficial.

I also wish I knew that everyone else was in the same position as me and feeling the same way.”

What do you wish you knew about choosing a course, and a university?

“I wish I knew that you aren’t stuck with the choice you make in Year 12.

I was really worried about choosing the course and university. But if I’d known how easy it was to transfer courses within a university and that the ability to change universities was available, I wouldn’t have felt so much pressure to make the right decision the first time.

I started at ACU enrolled into a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Global Studies. After a year of study, I realised that law wasn’t my passion and I wanted to work with young people and help them succeed. The next year, I transferred to a Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) at ACU, and it was the best decision that I’ve made.

There are so many people that you can chat to at universities and at school that will help guide you through the process of choosing your course. You are not alone, someone is always there to lend a hand.”

What do you wish you knew about study/life balance?

“I wish I knew that study wasn’t the most important thing in Year 12 and that it is also important to take care of yourself. I fell in the trap of putting so much pressure on myself that I was struggling in my physical and mental health. Ensuring that I was taking time for myself and taking a break was something I wish I took on board as it would have helped me enjoy high school and the exciting steps of preparing for university.”

Year 12 students having coffee and smiling.

What do you wish you knew about finishing school?

“That last day when I finished my final exam, I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I was exhausted and slept for nearly 20 hours. When I woke up, I felt free and like the world was my oyster and I could do and be whoever I wanted to. Although I experienced the grief that came with finishing high school for good, it was also liberating.”

What do you wish you knew about uni offers?

“I wish I knew that if I didn’t get the Year 12 results that I needed then it wasn’t the end of the world. There are so many options and pathways, there is always a way to get to where you want to go.

Utilising the student services teams such as AskACU helped me understand what my options were if I didn’t get the score I needed. They helped me find back-up plans and make sure I was prepared for whatever outcome was to come.

I also wish I knew that there was more than one offer round. There are multiple and if you don’t get an offer in the first round, don’t be disheartened because there are more opportunities.”

What do you wish you knew about your life a year on?

“I wish I knew how many opportunities would be put my way and how many things I would experience in just a year. So much changes once you go into uni and it is all for the better.”

Dreaming of life after high school? Find out more about studying at ACU

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Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2019 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G