Our say | Class of 2017 to take the next exciting step on life’s journey

AS one door closes so many more open for the class of 2017.

Students sitting this year’s final Higher School Certificate exam finally put down their pens for the last time about 2.30pm on Tuesday and walked out into adulthood.

They will no doubt have felt an overwhelming sense of relief, the release of pressure that had been building for two years of senior schooling.

Now they face an anxious wait for results that will be delivered to them next month, and from there they will start making more decisions that will shape the rest of their lives. Or, at least, the next stage.

Because regardless what happens in a few weeks’ time, all this year’s HSC students – and the families that have supported them through the exams – need to remember one important fact: No-one’s life is not defined by one exam, an HSC or ATAR score.

The results of these exams, coming at the end of 13 years of schooling, are certainly important but, in reality, are just more building blocks to an individual’s desired future.

The end of the exams – and the release of the results next month – will not be an end but, rather, just another beginning.

While parents will want students to meet or exceed expectations and fulfil aspirations, they need to provide reassurance.

If students achieve less now than they hoped to that is not a barrier to ultimate success.

There is always a second chance.

If marks are not what they expected they can have another go, choose another course or find a different path to reach their goals.

If school taught them anything, it would be try, try, try again. That is how you succeed.

Today’s high-speed connected world is one of constant change and new opportunities for self-improvement and advancement.

Many people have had early-life setbacks and gone on to achieve great things in the whole range of human activities.

Demographers will tell you that today’s generation will not enjoy just a single career after school. Most will have two, three, even four careers as life’s challenges and changes shape their paths.

Students have put in a huge effort so far and deserve to let their hair down for a few weeks. There may be setbacks or challenges ahead, there may be real joy.

But whatever the result, be proud of what you have achieve so far and be inspired by what you will achieve in the future.