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Dear Parents, Sydney’s HSC students have something to ask

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One thing that has definitely helped Caleb is having a separate room by himself without distractions, since about the beginning of Year 12. Photo: File
One thing that has definitely helped Caleb is having a separate room by himself without distractions, since about the beginning of Year 12. Photo: File

With just four months to go until the HSC, Sydney’s Catholic Year 12 students have some wise words of advice for parents and carers hoping to help make exam time less stressful.

Dear Parents,

We realise that you are one of our biggest support systems during this final stage of high school. We would like you to know that the HSC period is most definitely an extremely stressful time for Year 12 students. The abrupt increase in workload, the countless dreaded exams, the expectations placed on us to perform well, and the uncertainty of being accepted into future courses, all add to the intense pressure that we experience during our final year of high school.

At times, the pressure of the HSC can be overwhelming, and we would like you to know how you can help us during this time. We believe that the most helpful way you can assist us during the HSC, is by continuing to offer your encouraging words. Although we may not always show our appreciation, your quick pep talks really do help ease our minds off the current workload. Whether it be on getting adequate sleep, eating well, or taking enough rest breaks, small reminders really go a long way in building and maintaining a healthy school-life balance.

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Furthermore, try recognising and validating our emotions. By doing this, you not only show us that you are listening, but that you are also hearing and understanding. Do this in a subtle and non-judgemental way. Sometimes it’s all too easy to want to rush in with solutions and aid. However, it’s best to let us know that we are being heard and understood, which makes it all the easier for us to open up a little extra, whether that be about school stress, or inner mental health turmoil.

As teenagers, we sometimes we think we know it all. With the world at our fingertips, we think we are the professionals at making decisions. However, our ego often gets in the way and we follow through with rash judgements. To counter this, parents can put the subtle art of distractions to good use.

Parents can look for clear visible signs of distress, such as an emotional and verbal reserved state, or irregular sleep schedules. During these, parents can grant small, readily accessible distractions; such as going for a walk across the beach, a drive to a conservation park (granted no urgent exams or hand-in tasks are due) or even accompanying us shopping.

As minimal as these sound, they allow us to look at our situation from a different, unobtrusive perspective, a sort of “thinking outside the box” approach which allows different pathways for doing tasks in a more efficient and non-draining way. Overall, “controlled distractions” used in the right scenarios can make all the difference.

Please know that we are grateful for your endless support, even though we may not show it all times. We love you and your efforts in helping us achieve our goals and aspirations!

Marissa Sukkar and Sujal Bhusal
Trinity Catholic College
2023 Leaders of Academic Life


It’s quite a stressful year because of the HSC and everything else going on, but I think it helps if parents can encourage their child to keep a healthy balanced lifestyle without pushing them too much about study.

I’m doing fairly well but I know that for some students, getting HSC pressure from their parents on top of everything else can actually make them feel like giving up.

One thing that has definitely helped me is having a separate room by myself without distractions, since about the beginning of Year 12.

I’m fortunate to have a good relationship with my parents. Talking at the dinner table about how school is and how I’m doing has been good.

One thing that’s been annoying is getting a brand new RE teacher, it’s kind of messed up my own momentum in the subject.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of school so I’m excited to be finishing up but I still try hard and do my best, partly for my parents but also for myself to know I’ve tried my best to do what I can do.

Caleb Lim
St Leo’s Catholic College, Wahroonga


I can’t wait for the HSC to be over. I’m absolutely sick of my school uniform.

What is helping me the most is that mum’s a great editor, which comes in handy when all your subjects are essay-based.

And in another life she was a family lawyer so it’s great to chat with her about legal studies too.

It’s also great to chat generally about my day with mum and dad. It’s nice to debrief and hear about their day too.

What makes it more stressful than it needs to be is being locked out when I come home early from school and no one’s at home, and when they make “suggestions” for university courses… I will NOT be doing law!

Katherine Baker
Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta

My family has lived in Australia since 2002 and came from South Sudan.

The HSC can be stressful sometimes with all of the exams but I keep on top of them.

What my parents can do to help is to let me study for exams and allow me to also spend time with them to give my brain a break from all the studying.

Akuec Deng
St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens

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