“No more school fees!” has been the first response when mentioning my youngest child is doing the HSC, quickly followed by “What is she going to do next year?”
There are many paths to a rewarding career, be it by going straight into the workplace, undertaking an apprenticeship, expanding perspectives through traveling, studying at TAFE / university or giving of time and gaining experience through voluntary work.
In addition, there are a myriad of opportunities for mature-aged students to study, retrain or upskill, to which they will bring valuable life-experiences. This is particularly pertinent given that researchers are predicting that the current generation of school leavers may have 17 different employers and 5 career changes in their life-time!
In our rapidly changing society, also more than just technical skills and knowledge are needed. Valued ‘soft-skills’ include flexibility, adaptability, creativity, teamwork, leadership, problem solving, negotiation and conflict resolution, communication and a positive attitude.
As our children join the 77,000 students commencing their final exams today, we need to remind them – and maybe ourselves – that this is not an ending, it is just the beginning of the next steps in their journey.
Yes, the culmination of 13 years of schooling is significant and exams can be stressful; however the pressure of exams should never hurt their self-esteem or our family relationships. Reassure them that you will love and support them long after the exams are over, that no single exam mark can ever define who they are or what they will eventually contribute to our society – and that even if things do not go as planned, life is full of second chances.
So what is my daughter doing next year?
It seems like only yesterday that on her first day of Kindergarten she ran excitedly into the playground, threw her bag down and skipped off with friends, full of hope and wide-eyed wonder …
Whatever she does next year, I hope she runs towards it with the same sense of hope and excitement for a yet unknown, but wonderful future!
God of all wisdom
Bless our children with confidence as they complete this final stage of their schooling. Give them the insight to recall their knowledge, the courage to steady their nerves and a calm heart.
Help our children to remember that they are always loved and to trust in the plans YOU have for them. Each day is a new beginning to the daring adventure of life.
A future full of hope awaits them.