4 December 2017
A wise person has calculated there are exactly 101 days between the end of year 12 and the start of USC’s first semester of uni. That is 2424 hours or 145,440 minutes or a whopping 8,726,400 seconds. However you think of it, and I prefer to think of the seconds because it seems more, that is a long time! So, what is your child going to do with all that time? Even taking a bit off for sleeping, eating and showering, that still leaves a whole lot of time. Not even the most ambitious teenager can spend an entire day in the shower. And to any teenagers reading this… no that is not a challenge.
Let’s face it, Year 12 can be stressful – the study, the worry about the study, the OP, the worry about the OP, the formal, the worry about the formal. And sometimes after such a full-on year, your child walks out the school gate, heads off to schoolies and when they come home ... (the sound of crickets).
And that’s ok. In fact that can be good, because it will give their mind and body a chance to regenerate from the stress they (and you) have just been through. In fact, a relaxing 101 days of Summer might be an alternative to your child taking a gap year. Many students can’t bear the thought of picking up a textbook in the near future, which is normal – but it’s no reason to put off study for a whole 12 months. They might just need some time to relax and regroup to consider their options over Summer. This might include combining work with part-time study so they get the experience of both work and uni life.
Our family has had four very different post year 12 experiences, from heading off overseas for an extended family holiday, going straight into a new ‘gap year’ job, to camping trips and chillaxing on the couch.
But whatever your child is doing immediately post year 12, it will be different from year 12, and the benefits of some downtime after a period of stress (aka finishing school) are well documented.
And think of including your family. Year 12 can be stressful for us too, so spend some quality time with your child. They are about to change from being a school student to a university student, and (erhemm) some parents find it hard to see their baby growing up. Shared strawberry milkshakes make for nice memories…and, while you’ll probably be the one paying, memories are priceless, so I’m sure you will be happy to.
Now a clarification here…because I am suggesting your child needs a refresh does not mean they can’t get a holiday job or that they should lie on the couch for the entire break letting their brain go to mush, or that if you ask them to feed the cat, or unstack the dishwasher they can say “no can do crackerjack. I’m refreshing my brain”. I am suggesting that they, and you, should permit plenty of downtime to totally relax.
And there are ways to make the start of uni less stressful as well. Encourage your student to prepare for day 101 early, by checking out the USC’s Getting Started information on the website, coming along to one of USC’s Getting Started sessions on campus (which provide help on things such as how to enrol in your classes), and finding out as much as they can before Orientation week (19-26 February 2018).
The first university semester will be a hectic time. There is so much to learn, so much to do. Such a wonderful opportunity to cram in knowledge and make fabulous friends. So ensure your child takes the time now to rest and recharge, and then they will be ready to enjoy the amazing opportunities at USC.
About Dr Janet Lee
Dr Janet Lee received her Doctorate of Creative Arts from USC. She is also mum to four children who have all completed (or are completing) their undergraduate degrees at USC. Janet lives on the Sunshine Coast with two dogs, some very spoilt chickens and her wonderful, noisy family. Janet is a regular contributor to USC's Parent Lounge.