Friday, March 5, 2021

Up close and personal with the HSC

Reading Time: 3 minutesSITARA RAMAKRISHNAN reminds us that life is about more than just ATARs  


- Advertisement -

It is that time of the year as anxious NSW Year 12 students receive their 2013 HSC results and Australian Tertiary Admission Rankings (ATARs) administered by the Board of Studies and the University Admissions Centre. For many students, it marks an intense year’s worth of dedication, perseverance and sacrifice moulded into a number.

As frustrating and demanding as the HSC year can be, the only thing students can do is to try their absolute best. Of course, reaching academic goals would be an incredible feeling knowing the work paid off and career paths are now set. However, despite hard work and commitment, sometimes results don’t always go to plan. Missing the cutoff for my dream course by 0.4 was definitely a good hard slap in the face. But at the end of the day, the ATAR is merely the shortest pathway for students to reach their career goals.

The ATAR will not stop students from pursuing and achieving their dream career paths if they are driven and committed to getting there through other pathways. Sure, it could simply mean a different university for study, or it could even take a year or two longer, but hey, how significant is that in terms of a lifetime?

The HSC year for me was steered by a personal drive and a degree of pressure which felt healthy, it kept me pushing myself to work towards my personal goal even after a few occasions of disappointment. Everyone has a different ATAR aim whether it’s 99.95, 95, 85 or 75 and any of these marks are a great achievement if you tried your hardest. In just about all my subjects: English Advanced, English Extension 1 & 2, Chemistry, Biology and Ancient History, I would never consider myself a ‘fast learner’. You know what type of learner you are and just how quickly you can absorb information. So students, set ample time, consult with your teachers, practice and develop studying techniques that suit your own learning style whether it is writing, lots of colour, diagrams, dot-points or preparing essay scaffolds!

All the above was a personal choice. I wanted to see what I could achieve when I tried my absolute best and put in the hours I did. I was extremely lucky to have such supportive parents who showed no hostility towards my decision to drop mathematics altogether and put absolutely no pressure on me so I felt like I had no external expectations but to fulfil my own. The ATAR is personal and that is how it should be. The subjects you choose, the career path you wish to pursue and the marks you receive should all come down to a personal choice. Any external pressures can be emotionally draining and simultaneously impact on the quality of one’s study and mindset during an exam. So a humble note to parents, if you want your child to succeed, all you need to do is let them make the big decisions and just be there for them. Sure, Extension 2 Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and a career path of medicine may seem like a fantastic choice for your child, but at the end of day, your child is the one that must immerse themselves in substantial periods of these subjects and fields. So students, put aside all this ‘low scaling/high-scaling’ business and do what you find most interesting and the marks and results will undoubtedly follow in the best way.

What I have learnt is that success is not about pleasing or comparing yourself with others, it is not necessarily about receiving the highest ATAR or making the most money either. Success is the result of passion. We can achieve the greatest of things when we find our place of passion in the long spectrum of life’s possibilities and can wake up in the morning, just feeling happy. That’s all it really is and these days just about any passion can result in a career. Whether that is through university, TAFE, medicine, art, business, photography or music, go find it, work for it, grab onto it and never let anyone stop you from achieving true happiness.

- Advertisement -
Previous articleQueen-size resolutions
Next articleMekong musings

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Latest News

Guess The Song rj ekta

LISTEN: Will you be the one to correctly guess this tune?

  Are you good with guessing tunes? Keen ear for rhythm and beats? RJ Ekta might've been able to stump you with this one. She recently...
Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah twitter thread

Women, what would you tell your school age self?

  Ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March, Monash University's Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah was asked to speak at a girl's school. The inspiring academic,...
women empowerment

WATCH: Hindi poem about women empowerment

  Ever have those days where nothing is going your way? You feel demotivated and wonder, "what's the point?". The last couple of weeks in Australia...
march 2021 shows and movies

Indian shows and movies to watch in March 2021

  Bombay Begums (Netflix) After the award-winning Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016), director Alankrita Shrivastava is back with another empowering series about women. Set in urban...

Japanese billionaire seeks eight artists for free Moon ride

  Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has invited eight people to join him for a free ride to the Moon on a SpaceX Starship rocket sometime...