We all went to selective high schools in Sydney. We finished the HSC in November and have had the last few months off. At school there was a lot of pressure to be successful, particularly academically. Many of us travelled a long way to get to school, took multiple tutors, and spent a lot of time at the library.
For a lot of the girls, year 12 was really hard. We faced the pressure of creating our personal identity as well as maintaining a rigorous study schedule. Crying and breakdowns were common in the student spaces, and the student counsellor was shit. She was like ‘just be happy’.
To receive your report card you had to meet with the principal and receive it personally. We would book in a time to see him, and then fearfully wait outside in the corridor. It was a space that we would never otherwise be in. Within the meeting you would be given your rank and advice about the future. When you exited the meeting people waiting outside (even teachers) would ask you your rank.
Sweat, plasticy textbooks, tears, scented eucalyptus tissues, leather couches, ink, chocolate, ice cream.