Words by Nandana, 16 NSW
I’m stuck in the middle of year 10.
I’ve just chosen the subjects that will supposedly decide the rest of my life, and now I’m regretting some of them. I am starting to wish I could go back in time more and more every day – before year 10, or even before high school. I’m not scared of the HSC, but that doesn’t mean I’m thrilled to soon move into senior school either.
It’s not the brown parent or cultural expectations to academically excel, like I know it is for some, it’s just me. The truth is that I’m terrified for myself in these next two years of my life. I’m terrified for my own health and wellbeing, and I’m terrified of the person I’m going to end up becoming. I’m paralysed in fear.
I have a pretty strong support system – a loving mum and dad, a (sometimes) bearable little sister and close-knit friend group with people who love me for who I am. Nevertheless, whether it be at home or at school, I felt like I was the only one stressing about year 11 and 12.
It was only when I started talking about these dilemmas, my uncertain future and the HSC, did I realise that I’m not alone – my mother was really anxious for me, and my friends were going through something similar. So, I asked myself, why should everyone keep their worries to themselves when we could all let it out and face the future together?
I’m one of many. 32% of high school students are stressed in Australia.
Instead of normalising this during some of the best years of our lives, we should confront it. Talk to your support system, your school counsellor or any other trusted person in your life. As an individual who loves to run away from my feelings, my advice is that it could be something as simple as a chat over coffee.
Talking about your stress and anxiety will not only improve your mental health as you venture through a difficult time, but it will also make the people around you aware and understand how you’re feeling so that they can support you.
As legendary Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal.”
Communicating will only help you and will lighten the load that you feel, like it did for me. I know that opening up to someone is not easy, but even just a slightly deeper, casual conversation with people you feel comfortable around can make a huge difference.
Lastly, keep everything you love close to you. That is what is going to help me in the next few years when I’ll face major life decisions. For me it’s my family, friends, my addiction to music, my fictional escapism in books, my love for dancing and my obsession with food.
Together, let’s all get unstuck by speaking and persevering together!