In all honesty, nothing could have prepared us for the shock of Year 11. The workload and expectations were pushed several thousand notches higher. “No, I wasn’t kidding when I said you need to be able to write 10 to 12 pages of an essay in a maximum of 40 minutes during Paper 1 of your exam.” Ms Jalloul, our Advanced English teacher, replies to a set of gaping faces (This exam requirement still remains a great conversation-starter amongst us).

I would be lying if I said none of us struggled. But halfway through our cries of despair, to which unfortunately our teachers and parents fell victim, we realised that absolutely nothing was going to come to us on a nice, fancy silver platter. Facts and statistics began hitting us hard, where we learnt that only 20 000 Australian students of the 90 000 who sit the HSC, can be admitted into university each year. We were competing with thousands of other students, who were all in the same rocky boat as us. The difference was whether we complained, or whether we sat down, accepted the requisite skills and knowledge, and readied ourselves for the last year of our high school career.

Inshallah we achieve a high ATAR and fulfil our dreams and aspirations, in order to please Allah (S.W.T) foremost, and make our parents, school and community proud.

Mariam Nachabe