Nadine Dracakis

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is the crowning glory of New South Wales’ education system. Yet despite it’s revered status, students continue to be filled with a palpable anxiousness.

This infectious mood of anxiety stems from the irrational, yet justified, belief that a particular percentage figure holds the ability to define a students entire professional life. To many this pressure is seemingly unbearable, yet there is argument to suggest that the HSC induced stress adequately prepares students for the ‘real world’.

Viviana Wuthrich, a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotion Health, says “The HSC just reflects one stressful life experience that people are likely to have across their lives. There are many other times when people are going to feel very stressed.

“There’s no real evidence to suggest the detriment is going to have ongoing effects. The HSC period, though it is a stressful period, does not have any long term damage.”

Hindsight as they say is 20/20. After gaining some perspective, most ex-students would agree that the fears of the HSC are predominantly due to the social ideals we often staple to it. Ms. Wuthrich echoes this sentiment.

“HSC students think that the HSC is everything, and that’s partly because they might think their family, their parents, and their schools tell them that it’s critically important.”

So, the trick to avoiding all this ‘stress’? According to Ms. Wuthrich undertaking hobbies such as sport act as effective strategies to gaining that necessary perspective.

“HSC students who can have some perspective generally do better.”