Year Groups - After year 12

When the HSC Exams Finish…

For many students the HSC is one of the most stressful experiences of their life. A lot of parents find it can be as stressful for them as it is for the student.

Youth mental health organisation, ReachOut, provides an online resources for parents whose children are completing the HSC, to help them cope with stress that accompanies the exams.

This year the organisation's digital platform has experienced an increase of activity in the lead up to the HSC, with more than 130,000 people having accessed its study and stress related content. There also have been extra visits for their general services on depression and feeling down.

The ReachOut targeted resources for parents emphasise that “there is life after the HSC exams and life can get better if they are going through a tough time.”

While you are waiting for the HSC results, here are some suggestions for parents…

Understand your motivations: Do you feel pressure from your family or friends for your child to score a high mark? Do you want them to have opportunities you did not have as a child or to follow a particular career? Our motivations as parents can influence our expectations of our children.

Communicate your expectations clearly: It is easy for students to feel they are not meeting their parents’ expectations and thus feel discouraged. Many students work best when learning is challenging if they receive praise for the effort they make rather than their results.

Have some fun together: Even when life is busy it is important to set aside some time to do fun things together. You could do some exercise together - kick a ball in the park or go for a run together, go to the movies, museum or a gallery or enjoy a special lunch together.

Look out for any physical or mental signs of stress: People display stress in different ways and it is important for you to be aware that your child may be worrying and feeling stress. You may be able to talk with them about this and work out how you can help them or you may want to seek support for them from a psychologist.

When the HSC results are received, many students will be deciding on their next study plan.

Parents should take a proactive role in assisting with the decision of which university/college/course to choose. It’s a daunting task for anyone to undertake and extra help can be useful. While schools provide some guidance in relation to courses, additional support from parents can make a big difference. Here are some suggestions for how you can get involved:

  • talk openly to your son/daughter about what they’re thinking of applying for
  • take part in looking at the information universities/colleges provide on the courses your son/daughter is interested in
  • find out when universities/colleges have open days. Consider visiting together.
  • have a look around the university/college campus with your son/daughter – is this somewhere they would like to go to university/college?
  • be open to what they think they’d like to study, or where they’d like to go. Offer advice, but, try not to be overly directive.

And remember, times of stress offer opportunities for us to build closer relationships with the people we love.

Written by Julie Jenkins, School Counsellor, Kogarah High School 2016