• Christian Paul

What to do after school is over

Finally! School is over, exams are in full swing, and the ATAR results are just around the corner. And everybody is terrified!

I’ve heard a bunch of different adjectives describing this time of year from recently finished Year 12’s. Dead time, boring, and nerve racking to name a few. Everybody has a similar idea, though, and I’d like to counter it before anyone even dreams of mentioning it:

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All life in the future will NOT be decided on the 12th of December


Its a little crushing, honestly, that the hopes and dreams of thousands of 17 and 18-year-olds rest so precariously upon this ridiculous number. Come Monday, there will be many smiles and even more tears. Because, sadly, there will be many students who don’t receive the score they want. And I use the term “score” loosely because it really isn’t a score at all. It’s a rank. Australian Tertiary Admission RANK. The entire system is built to say that one student is better than another. And we all know that is about as fair as this:

Here’s a simple idea: All year 12’s should be celebrating right now.

You made it through secondary school! Regardless of what happens now, you’ve made it through. Welcome to life outside of school. Now what?!

There are so many options in front of you that honestly, it’ll probably be a little daunting. Choosing a University course is important (if you want to do one!), but there are a million other things in front of you, many of them quite exciting ideas. Here’re a few ideas for some experiences you can explore with your new found freedom, which can also be a great help in navigating life outside of school.

Start a new sport or hobby

Try your hand at something new! You have a lot more free time without the crushing pressure looming over your head. There are the good old classics like basketball and footy, but use this time to try something adventurous! Join a karate club (I know a great local one here), learn how to rock climb, or get into golf! My wife recently got into sewing, and I’ve never seen her so happy. You’d be surprised how many new friends you can make as well, especially if you look into local community groups and clubs.

Get your RSA or RSG

Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Service of Gambling are great licenses to have to your name. Work in a local bar, café, or even at the casino. Handy licenses that open up a pretty big range of part-time work opportunities, and are also a lot of fun! Who doesn’t want to work at the pub?! Most local councils run RSA courses reasonably often; check out Google to find something near you!

Write a blog

Seriously, if I can start a blog, anyone can. It doesn’t have to be anything specific. It could be there to help the Year 12’s of the future cope with the pressures that you are now all too familiar with. The beauty of a blog is that it can be as personal or as professional as you like. There are a huge number of people blogging in this day and age, but it’s not exactly a competitive sport! Have some fun with it!

Create a small business or online shop

It’s surprisingly easy! There are a bunch of free platforms online that allow starting your own shop. Etsy and Ebay are just two that come to mind. Let your creative juices flow, and you can make some money while you’re at it! A small business could also be a lot of fun if you have a skill you can market. Maybe you’re great at fixing computers or have a knack for photography. Don’t let your passions go to waste!


Yeah, yeah, I know this probably could have gone first on this list, but I’m sure you were all thinking it anyway. Let me give you some food for thought, though: instead of just going out and getting hammered every night (tempting I know), use your freedom to explore Melbourne. This city has a nightlife that rivals many. Instead of getting stuck into huge night clubs all the time, take your chance to see some of the most interesting places. The quaint and quirky is where you want to be! Catch up with friends and try those drinks whose names you can’t pronounce. You won’t regret it! (Well, you might the next morning…)


Again, obvious. Who doesn’t want to visit Europe or America? Or Australia?! I know not everybody has the budget to go on a lavish trip overseas. So don’t! Explore closer to home. Go check out the Great Ocean Road, explore the Dandenongs, or head down south to Wilson’s Prom. There are some stunning locations only an hour or two away, and you should really see them! Melbourne is full amazing places to visit, and you don’t need life savings to see them!

And finally…Enjoy!

Try not to let trivial things like your ATAR get you down. Enjoy this time that you have, and also take comfort in the fact that doors in the future are never actually locked. If you want something, there is always a way. Everybody has heard all about pathways and alternatives into Uni or Tafe, but nobody seems to take them seriously. Unless they are forced to. It’s a shame because simply remembering that you are far more important than a rank out of a hundred will save you hours or even days of stress and heartache.

If you have other ideas for what to do after school, tell everyone about them in the comments! I’d love to hear about them.

#afterschool #educationsystem #foodforthought #studenttestimonial


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