After two years of studying in a pandemic, we learnt so much in VCE

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If you had told me two years ago that both years of my VCE were going to be majorly interrupted by a virus I would have said you were crazy.

I had seen my three siblings go through VCE, so I definitely had expectations about what my VCE would look like, but nothing could have prepared me for what I went through – what anybody went through – over the past two years.

Frankie Howe has just finished VCE.

After 2020 I think many students were holding hope that 2021 would be better because we knew how to handle the virus and things could only go up from where they were in 2020. But I think for many including myself so much motivation got lost throughout the year as we went through lockdown after lockdown, each one draining our enthusiasm bit by bit.

One thing that we took away from 2020 is to be grateful for any opportunities, whether that be a social event or to travel somewhere, and accepting that our VCE experience is not like other years and that no matter how hard we tried it wasn’t going to be.

Although there were so many events and parties that got cancelled throughout the year, it made the ones we did have even more memorable.

I was lucky enough to have a school dance in May this year and I remember the teachers commending my cohort as there were more year 12s there than they had seen before because everyone was so excited that we were getting to have it and that you never know when the next announcement of a lockdown was.

As well as the difficulties of the past two years there have definitely been some important lessons, such as how important it is to look after our mental health at all times but especially throughout these unparalleled times.

We also learnt how important it is to have outlets that we love to do – I know for me it was working with the Victorian Student Representative Council, not only did I make new friends but also it gave me opportunities to speak up for student voice at a time when it felt truly valued.

Many VCE students have very high stress throughout their year 12 as so many are told that this little number, this ATAR, dictates how the rest of their life will go.

Managing this stress, as well as the stress of things such as whether we would go into another lockdown, or whether the GAT will get postponed again, was incredibly difficult.

However, the truth is that your VCE result don’t dictate your life and in many ways, there is only so much we can plan because you never know when a virus is going to control essentially the whole world for two years.

Frankie Howe is a year 12 student from Ballarat Grammar.

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