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BLOG | 25 FEB 2021

Dear 2021 HSC students, prevent yourself from burning out!

The HSC year brings a lot of stress for many year 12 students. For those who have just begun year 12, many are already reporting feelings of stress and anxiety due to increased workload, heightened expectations, and pressure to make decisions about their future career.

A lot of emphasis is placed on the HSC and even more so, the ATAR. The word ATAR is probably thrown around the most, closely followed by the words study, university applications, and effort. Ah yes, the memories of sitting in a hall with all of my fellow year 12 peers whilst the teachers lectured us are all flooding back to me now…

Maybe my memory is a little bit hazy, but I feel like the teachers forgot to mention the most important word in those lectures that required the most emphasis: BURNOUT!

Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Given the HSC year involves four terms of trial exams, major projects, university applications, tafe applications, and the final HSC exams, experiencing prolonged stress (and ultimately burnout) is not uncommon.

So, what are the signs of burnout?

  • Feeling tired or drained most of the time
  • Change in appetite or sleep
  • Becoming sick easily
  • Increased self-doubt
  • Low motivation
  • Decreased sense of accomplishment
  • Increased procrastination
  • Feelings of defeat
  • Loss of focus and concentration
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Conflict in your relationships with friends or family

How do I prevent myself from burning out?

  • Schedule time into each day for the things you enjoy
  • Maintain socialisation
  • Engage in regular exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Fuel your body with good food
  • Set aside time for relaxation (e.g. mindfulness, deep breathing)
  • Celebrate each achievement throughout the year (e.g. Finished your trials? Celebrate!)
  • Talk through your stressors and anxieties with someone you trust (e.g. parent, school counsellor, psychologist)
  • Remember: Your ATAR does not define you; No future employees will care about what ATAR you got in the HSC; There are many pathways to attain your dream job besides university; You do not need to know what you want to do after school; Your mental and physical health is a priority.

Without a doubt your HSC year will be a big year, and you are likely to feel stressed from time to time. However, if you put the preventative measures in place and are aware of the signs of burnout, you can make your final year of school a much more positive experience.

You should be incredibly proud of yourselves for reaching this milestone. Stay positive, enjoy this milestone, and remember that you are most important. Good luck!

Kaelan Jones


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