Students are more than just a number

Belinda Brown

With trial HSC exams well underway at schools across the Coast, Year 12 students are being reminded that, come what may, they will always be more than just their ATAR.

While the message has rung true for all previous years, it has never been more important than now, with the Class of 2020 arguably the most disrupted HSC cohort in the examination’s history.

Belinda Brown is the Learning Enrichment Coordinator at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, The Entrance Campus.

With the trials being the final stepping stone before the HSC exams, she believes that many students will need to be reminded that they’re more than just a number over the coming weeks.

“One question I refrain from asking former students is how they went in the HSC.

“When we first enter the world, we are measured for our height and weight.

“This continues through school, on the sporting field and at work.

“We are so used to judging ourselves against a range of continuums such as our BMI, ATAR, credit rating and so on, that we forget to relate to ourselves with any humanity or compassion.

“Whilst we should be celebrating those students who dug deep and made sacrifices to extend themselves throughout the HSC, it must be remembered that there are a myriad of ways that one can be a high achiever,” Brown said.

“This year, I have personally witnessed elite athletes being knocked off course due to the cancellation of competitions.

“For those that cling desperately to the identity of an elite sportsperson, it has been challenging yet enormously character building.

“I have also witnessed students stepping up to care for family members, especially for parents or siblings with sickness and disability, offering both physical and emotional support.

“And I have been in awe of students working long hours to make ends meet at home.

“These success stories don’t relate to the calculation of an ATAR.

“There are so many different pathways, that it would be unreasonable to reduce ourselves to a single number.

“My advice to this year group would be to never shy away from hard work, but at the same time, treat yourself with care and compassion in order to build the courage and resilience to get out of your comfort zone,” Brown said.

Newsletter, Aug 20
Kirrily Harvey, TLSC, The Entrance Campus