Surviving Grade 12

A Guide to Surviving Grade 12

In hindsight, I could have improved a lot of things in  grade 12, the year that was my most challenging and fast-paced in high school. The problem with hindsight is that it is completely useless to the me of the past. However, hindsight is valuable to my  present self and perhaps to you, dear readers. I shall now endeavour to provide a grade 12 survival guide in a manner that will entertain, educate, and mostly help you in your coming trials and triumphs.


This should really be printed on the front cover of every textbook, no matter what grade you are in. Much like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, your textbook’s purpose is to teach you hard concepts in manageable bites. As you flip through what looks like hieroglyphics with math symbols and an alarming number of pseudo-Latin, keep in mind to not panic, even if the book is an abomination the size and weight of a large brick. Those hieroglyphics will make sense.

I also have the same advice for the piles  of university guidebooks that are towering over your desk right now. I congratulate those of you with the foresight of exactly which school and what faculty you are going to apply for and empathize deeply with my fellow clueless peers. A glance at any university website will intimidate anyone, with its long lists of “Here’s What You Need To Do: Jump Through Burning Hoops And Swim Through Seas Of Paperwork”. Again, do not panic. By achieving the necessary marks earlier in high school and making up your mind to apply for university, you have already done 85% of the work.

If you absolutely have to, put a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster on your wall. Every little thing helps.

2. Applying to University and Scholarships is Like an Ikea Instruction Manual

Putting together a piece of Ikea furniture is much like applying for university. You can stare at the instruction manual and try to put it together piece by piece without looking at the overall picture. At the end, you may have a bookcase that looks more like a pile of plywood propped up against the wall. It’s the same with applications for a school. Take it one step at a time, and do not try to do everything at the same time; keep an eye on the overall shape of your bookcase. Check off the list of “to-do” items, but keep in mind your goals. Do not exhaust yourself.

3. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Peer Edit

The peer edit will save your life and your sanity. Seriously. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers, your friends, even your next door neighbour if you know him or her well enough. Even your dog, for stylistic revisions. While you have read your essay fifty million times in the last month, it is almost a certainty that there are weaknesses in your writing that you have not detected.  Your eyes will have misted over with daydreams before you find that “muck” has been spelled as “duck”. The person reading your essay will then gasp in terror because you killed all those ducks by stepping on them.

4. Last Leg In the Relay Does All the Work

It’s May. The frigid weather outside has finally released its stranglehold on your soul. Your applications are in, or mostly in, and you’re just hanging out every day, moaning, “I’m so done; I just want high school to be over already”.  The inviting sunshine, the promise of cool ice cream, and all the shows you just didn’t have the time to watch beckons. BUT WAIT! Before you sink into binge watching Netflix and popcorn, slap yourself in the face. Your work is not over yet.

Recall your memories from way back in September. Remember flipping through that view book, the pages that say “80% in English 12 Mandatory”? They weren’t kidding.

So, if you’re slumping a bit in physics, now’s the time to pick it back up again. The finish line is in sight, and I’m sure you have already heard many, many horror stories about not meeting that line. Don’t worry, though. You’ve gotten this far.

5. Good Luck!

May the force of fifty cups of coffee sustain you through your essays 🙂

Photo Credit: Emma.Kate via photopin (CC)

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