Karen Lomas
October 23, 2017

Stress and Anxiety in Year 12

In my career coaching practice I see many year 12 students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. This is not a reflection upon 2017 clients – stress and anxiety has been a common theme for clients of all ages throughout my years as a private career coach.

What is concerning for me as a career practitioner is to hear what is happening for some students in their VCE or VTAC school years. I have spoken to year 12 students who have:

  • dropped a VCE subject halfway through year 12,
  • become so unwell that they are not attending classes and missing SACs, and
  • reached out to their VCE teacher and school principal only to receive little or no support.

Sometimes when stress and anxiety occurs it can lead to sleep issues and also problems with physical health. This is not unusual. Many students seem to suffer from viruses because their immune system starts to suffer. However, if the student’s physical health deteriorates badly prolonged absences can impact grades and this can compound, or worsen stress.

Also, the competition for places in university or other tertiary courses can result in relationship issues between the students. Egos become fragile and sometimes things may be said that seem hurtful. One client I saw this year felt that this was happening and in the absence of school-based mediation the year 12 student dropped out of what was her favourite VCE subject. This was having completed units 1, 2 and 3.

I would like to reassure students and parents for whom the issue of anxiety and stress comes up in the final years of school. I do not treat the situation as catastrophic, as I can counsel students in ways that they can reduce stress and anxiety. I can also support students when a decision has been made that is going to impact their tertiary pathway options.

Even if ill health occurs, even in the event of having made a decision that will undoubtedly impact the student’s ATAR for tertiary admission, I can help. My adolescent counselling training and experience, as well as my access to a broad professional network, allows me to:

– identify the issues at hand and to determine the extent of my ability to provide remedy,

– refer a client to a mental health professional, or professional agency, as appropriate,

– use micro-counselling skills that help to examine and test irrational beliefs,

– negotiate and agree upon a practical ‘homework’, or to-do list that supports new behaviours,

– work with the student to devise a number of realistic pathway options that align with the client’s dreams, skills, values and attributes.

2017 has been a rewarding year as career coach to my year 12 clients. I have helped in testing circumstances, in particular where issues related to stress and anxiety exist. Even in the event of a decision already having been made regarding their studies, I can put your child back on track to complete school and continue to pursue their dreams.

Check out other blogs on my website for more on year 12 and tertiary study and feel free to contact me at [email protected] for an obligation free chat if you have any concerns about your child in year 10, 11 or 12.




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