AFTER months of stress, study, breakdowns, breakthroughs, a lack of sleep and countless energy drinks, year 12 students across the country can breathe a sigh of relief that it's all over.
With HSC marks released on Wednesday and ATARs coming out yesterday, more than 54,000 students can now start to plan their next step.
The Times caught up with some of the local students yesterday to find out how they went, their thoughts on the HSC, where they're headed next and how they plan on realising their goals even if their marks weren't exactly what they needed.
As someone who completed the HSC a few years ago, I know only too well that things don't always go to plan and no matter how many people told me at the time "It's not the 'be all and end all'," I took absolutely no notice and admittedly thought my life was over when the results were released.
Although I'd achieved enough to get myself into university, I hadn't received the marks I wanted and it hurt.
It wasn't until after the chaos of my final year at school that I realised what everyone was talking about and it was so refreshing to visit students yesterday who had found themselves as I did a little disappointed, however they are as determined as ever and they're making the best of the situation for themselves.
From a direct route to university, to TAFE diplomas, bridging courses and private colleges, there's endless ways to get to where you want to go and there's always another option.
"Where there's a will, there's a way," exclaimed one school leaver, and what an apt sentiment.
Congratulations to all the year 12 students for 2013, whether you're ecstatic, on the fence or disappointed.
You survived the HSC and that's an accomplishment in itself - the real world awaits and you can now do it at your own pace, on your own terms.
Chatham High students meet to de-brief
IT was all smiles at Chatham High yesterday when a selection of year 12 students gathered to de-brief on the last couple of days and share their plans for next year. But the biggest smile of all belonged to their dux of 2013, Sarah Bowers, who received an ATAR of 91.33.