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Today marks the start of the HSC exams. I’m sure many hopeful future Sydney University students were there in the English Paper 1 Exam today; frustration levels rising as their handwriting slowly became illegible amid hand cramps and annoying people clicking their pens a million times.

I was there not all that long ago. I remember HSC exams as being a frantic time, where I organised my colour-coded notes and tried to condense a whole year’s learning onto a single page, crammed with mnemonics and diagrams. I would repeatedly read and re-read this sheet before going into exams slowly rocking back and forth, trying to reassure myself I would be okay.

If I could do it again, I would do things quite differently. First of all, I wouldn’t get so upset about bad marks! I remember sitting in the common room, a group of friends around me after I had failed a Maths assessment. The words “my life is over,” slipped from my lips and my friends looked on, silently thinking that it was. What we didn’t know is that there are so many different routes to Uni than just a 99 ATAR.

After school I worked as a barrister's secretary for 6 months, then travelled Europe and Asia by myself for 6 months. I wasn’t ready for University just yet. I’m now studying a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Sydney University and am getting great marks in my subjects because I enjoy them. From here I plan on doing another degree. I could do just about anything really by applying with my Uni marks. If I could talk to that 18 year old me, I would say RELAX! Calm down. This exam does not define who you are! People will soon forget about marks and care about who you are as a person!

When I finished my final exam (which was on the top level of my school) I threw my notes off the balcony, drove home, had a Slurpee and went to a party with my friends. It was the greatest feeling. That “weight off my shoulders” cliché definitely applied to that moment. Just hold in there year 12’s! This will be you soon!

If you want more information about applying to Sydney University, have a peep here.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....