Stepping Out to Step Up

Zoe Eyles (middle) reports on the Year 12 Step Up Program.

With Year 12 finally upon us, the school year started differently than most. For the Step Up program, we stepped out of the classroom and headed to Elwood Sailing Club on the foreshore. Over two days we received advice on how to tackle our studies, deal with the stress we’re all looking forward to, and maintain a study/life balance.

On the first day, Ms Bentley spoke to us about pathways after VCE and the vast range of options available, including many specialised and unique courses. Talking about our goals beyond Year 12 made our real-world dreams feel that much closer. 2017 graduates Liza Clerehan, Jayde Elvey and Oliver Woods returned to candidly share their experiences of Year 12. We found their advice really valuable.

Mr Kinch talked us through stress management, meditation and the negative mentalities to avoid in Year 12. Many of us have since noticed how we’re getting to sleep much quicker after employing one of the mindfulness tricks he taught us. That day we also wrote letters intended for ourselves after finishing Year 12. We silently and earnestly scribbled away at this very personal and thought-provoking task.

The next day, we continued the Elwood College tradition of creating ‘memories bunting’. We wrote down our favourite high school memories on triangular pieces of paper to create a garland we will hang up. Unlike our letter-writing activity, this one was not at all silent – we had a good laugh together.

Later, in groups, we did beach exercise, goal setting and discussed the importance of creating support circles. Ensuring Year 12 is not all work and no fun, we brainstormed ideas for House and Year 12 events.

Presenters from Elevate also came to the school. We received explicit, targeted information on how we should study in order to get the best marks, and how to balance our study schedules with a healthy and social life.

We finished the Step Up program with an arsenal of tips and a plan of attack for the year.  Now it’s up to us to tackle this so-called ‘big year’, as only we can determine how much we achieve.