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By Daphne Fong
6 August 2021

I still remember the constant uncertainty and stress of being in lockdown during my HSC in 2020.

My peers and I had so many questions on our mind: will the HSC still go ahead? What is going to happen to trials? And of course, most important of all: will we get any bonus points for this? 

The final years of school are already challenging enough, and the uncertainty of the pandemic only worsens the stress.  

It’s great to hear that year 12 students will start being vaccinated, but for those high school students challenged by lockdown, I thought I would share a few strategies that may help to relieve your stress and make your experience a little bit more bearable. You’d be surprised to know how much this can brighten your day in lockdown!  

1. Stay connected 

At school, it’s easy to socialise, spend time with your friends. Lockdown doesn’t have to deprive you of that! My friends and I organised “Lunch Zooms” where we would enjoy our meals together. We used this as a time to catch up, discuss what was going on in our lives, express our anger and frustrations, and support each other through the challenges. You’re all in the same boat. 

Something that kept me sane during lockdown was remembering that every single one of my peers was going through a similar experience to me. You're not in this alone. And you have a support network around you – even if it is via Zoom! 

2. Treat yourself

Lockdown life can be exhausting, so it’s important to make sure you’re giving yourself something to look forward to at the end of each day! An important part of my daily lockdown routine is my nightly Netflix, Caramilk Chocolate and Salted Popcorn binge. And remember, this doesn’t have to be alone! I would recommend setting up group watch sessions with your friends so you can watch a movie or a TV series together! 

Daphne studying from home
Daphne completed her HSC in 2020 and is now studying Law and Politics, and Industrial Relations in Sydney.
© UNICEF Australia/P. Moran / supplied

3. Time management

Creating a daily routine to balance your commitments is super beneficial not only to your studies, but also to your mental health! At the start of each day, I wrote a to-do list of everything I needed to get done. I loved the satisfaction of ticking each item off when I completed it. Use your time in lockdown to balance study and leisure, consolidate your notes, and try out different study techniques.   

4. Get outside 

Do not underestimate the power of a good walk. At first, my parents had to practically drag me out of my room, but the sunshine and fresh air really helped me get back on track and refocus. Soon enough, it became an essential part of each day! 

5. Reach out

Remember that your school is there to support you. If you ever feel overwhelmed by the workload or think there are any improvements to be made to online learning, make your voice heard! Your teachers care about you and your wellbeing, and they want you to be able to do your best.  

If anything, this whole experience has highlighted how resilient children and young people are. I know it’s hard and I know it's stressful - our cohort went through this last year too. But if we can do it, you guys can too! Remember, stay connected, treat yourself, manage your time wisely, take a walk and reach out.  

If you or a loved one is struggling, reach out to Kids HelpLine at any time on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

Daphne is part of our Young Ambassador program helping to raise the voices of children and young people in Australia.