By Sacha Kaluri.
Have you ever had a long extended break from work? Doesn’t it bring out the best in you? You let go of all that stress and the ‘fun and relaxed’ you comes back to life. Then it’s the last week of your holidays and you start to count down the days before you have to go back to that busy work life.
Imagine if, during those holidays, you had people telling you that this year was going to be the most important year of your life. The year that will make or break your future. That this year, there’ll be no fun, just work! You’re reminded constantly your social life will be minimal. It will be all about putting your head down and taking the most important step towards your career. I know if it were me I’d be dreading going back to work, and I love my job. The pressure alone would make me just want to run away.
Well, that’s how a teenager often feels when they’re about to start year 12. And it was no different for me.
What’s great about year 12
Year 12 taught me much more than just the things I learned in the classroom. I loved the new relationships I had with my teachers. It was the very first time they treated me like an adult instead of a kid. It was the year I learned how to juggle school, homework, studying, work, money, family, friends, parties and of course the loser boyfriend that I thought was going to last forever. That year did make me resilient, but I started the year with pure fear and no motivation.
Looking back I wish I was guided to start the year with some positive achievable goals. To have someone ask me about what I wanted for my life, instead of being told what my parents would do if they could live their life over. I felt like I was under pressure to make my parents happy and become what they wanted me to become, all the while forgetting to ask myself what I wanted.
I wish my parents told me about all the fun I would have at school that year.
I had a great year. It was full of 18th birthday parties. I got to find out who I was in the adult world. I turned 18 myself and thought I was so grown up.
There were many nights that I would stay up all night and study, reading books over and over just so I could get it right. I learned the art of a good oral presentation and that exams were really stressful. I was put under pressure like I had never experienced before.
My mum would sit up late with me and help me type out my final drafts for my essays. We discussed books like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and To Kill a Mockingbird. We bonded in ways that we never had before. I didn’t get a break from my household chores, which was hard (I still remind Mum of that now). There were days when I needed a break, but I learned how to soldier on.
Tips to get your teen motivated
Parents play a role in helping their child through their senior years. Here are some tips on how to get your teenager motivated for the start of year 12.
- Have positive conversations at home with family and friends about all the various good things school has to offer other than education.
- Listen when they speak. When young people talk to their parents about subject selection, get involved and be positive.
- Remind them of the fun they’ll have. There is more to school than education. Maybe even reflect on the fun you had at school.
- Relationships with teachers will change. Teachers treat senior students more like adults.
- Make sure they’re doing subjects they enjoy. It’s not just about their careers and the final score. The more they enjoy school, the better they’ll do.
I believe that fun and enjoyment is the key to a healthy life. Ask your teenager what they think is fun, what lights that fire in their belly, what gets them excited about life.
This is about who they are, not what society wants them to be. Remember, life is a long journey and we all have our own path. If we make a mistake and we fail, it’s just a life lesson that kicks us down, so we learn how to get back up again.
About the author
Sacha Kaluri is a motivational youth speaker and director of the Australian Teenage Expo, 28 and 29 August 2015, Melbourne Showgrounds.