Dear Gladys, HSC is tougher than ever

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A student writes an open letter to the Premier on HSC in lockdown.
A student writes an open letter to the Premier on HSC in lockdown.

Dear Premier,

I’m a Year 12 student at Aquinas Catholic College Menai and currently studying via online learning.

Unlike last year, this is not a completely new experience for my teachers or myself, so generally everyone has been more organised and prepared for remote learning.

However, the added pressure of the looming HSC has definitely made a massive difference.

As an individual with the majority of my family overseas in a less fortunate society, I know the privileged position our state is in having such efficient actions implemented.

“Without concrete deadlines and constantly changing statements about the next step I can’t help but feel overwhelmed.”

Regardless, in an already stressful period, Covid-19 has made the HSC much more burdensome. The staff of Aquinas have been very supportive with regular year group meetings on zoom that go through updated information and tips to stay healthy in such a difficult time.

The questions they can’t answer due to a lack of information has been my biggest source of anxiety.

Am I going to write trials? Will I write the HSC? Will it be online? How will this affect my ATAR? Without concrete deadlines and constantly changing statements about the next step I can’t help but feel overwhelmed.

This feeling is shared by many and frequently voiced on HSC social media platforms. This constant state of “what happens next” and “I need to adapt by starting this” has become exhausting.

Kaelin Bolton is studying for her HSC at Aquinas College, Menai.
Kaelin Bolton is studying for her HSC at Aquinas College, Menai.

I know many who are feeling burnt out and unmotivated, an emotion that is becoming more commonly voiced as “Remote Learning Fatigue.”

This is something the staff of Aquinas are consistently working to avoid with the utmost dedication, but it is also becoming more and more difficult to prevent.

Studying for the HSC exams, whenever they may be, has been immensely impacted.

Studying alongside the Covid outbreak has also created a bubble of stress that seems to be inescapable. I can’t speak for everyone, but my home was my relaxing space. Now the distinction between home and school is blurred.

“I welcome the return to school, but can’t help but feel a sense of dread to face the consequences of my impacted study during remote learning.”

This is to the extent where I tend to overthink simple tasks to the point of dysfunction.
Simultaneously, the cancellation of sport, social interaction and the milestone events of the HSC year all weigh heavily on my mind.

The return to school on August 16th has opened hope that some of this may return, pending vaccination availability.

Others I know are more reluctant to return to school out of fear of contracting Covid-19 and spreading it to their vulnerable families, an added stress which is certainly not helpful when trying to successfully perform across our subjects.

I welcome the return to school, but can’t help but feel a sense of dread to face the consequences of my impacted study during remote learning.

Kind regards,

Kaelin Bolton