Introduction to Work in Year 12
Whether or not to work in Year 12 is a huge decision. In high school in general, working a part-time job is super common (up to 48%). Whether its at the local coffee shop, tutoring students in younger grades, or pet- or baby-sitting, heaps of students manage to study and work throughout the junior years of high school.
When it comes to Year 12, students often face the dilemma of whether to juggle part-time work alongside their studies or focus entirely on maximising their ATAR throughout this important year. In this post we’ll look at the pros and cons of taking on employment while navigating the challenges of Year 12 and maximising your ATAR score.
While it is definitely possible to work in Year 12, it’s important to weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks so you can make the best decision for you and your future ambitions.
Advantages of Working During Year 12
Financial Independence: Earning your own income allows you to have a level of financial independence from your parents during your senior year. This means you’ll be able to buy your own stuff (and get your own food) without relying on your parents to buy everything for you.
Improves Time Management: Balancing work commitments with studies can improve your time management skills. Many of the top-performing (99+ ATAR) students from my high school say time and time again that having a super busy plate with extracurriculars, sport and work can actually improve your efficiency and the intensity of your study when it comes time to hit the books.
Builds Work Experience: Early exposure to the workforce (even through part-time) can help you mature and can put you miles ahead of your friends when you get your first proper, full-time job later on. If you’re thinking of entering into a trade, this early work experience can be especially valuable and can help accelerate your career development.
Develops Soft Skills: Interacting with colleagues and customers (even the annoying ones) enhances your soft skills like communication, problem-solving and teamwork. These skills are super transferable and will 100% come in handy in uni and beyond. Your social skills and ability to work in a professional environment you develop if you work during Year 12 will definitely pay off later on.
Challenges of Working During Year 12
Academic Pressure: Working long hours can take its toll, impacting your energy levels and motivation to study after your shift. While this generally isn’t a huge deal in junior years, your ATAR is ultimately on the line during Year 12 so you need to be super careful not to take on too many work hours. Depending on your goals, your ATAR should be one of the most important parts of your life this year, and maybe that means work needs to take a step back.
Less Time To Relax: A hectic schedule may leave little time for relaxation and social commitments. Year 12 can be a super stressful time, so it’s really important to take time out of the week for yourself and keep up your social commitments with friends and family. If you’re working too many hours, you may limit your “you” time which is more important this year than ever.
Extracurricular Activities: Balancing work, studies, and extracurricular activities can be overwhelming, and working too many hours may make it difficult to balance your other extracurricular commitments. Just like with relaxation and social time, it’s important to keep up your hobbies and other activities you enjoy during Year 12 to manage stress and maintain your physical and mental health.
How to Balance Study & Work During Year 12
Set Clear Goals: Define your academic and career goals, and assess whether part-time work aligns with what your plan is for the future. Ultimately, whether work is right for you depends on your own goals. A student who is pursuing a career as a doctor (who needs to get a very high ATAR) would likely work far less (or not at all) compared to a student who wants to get into a trade as they would get heaps of value from pursuing work opportunities and connecting with future employers during Year 12.
Create a Realistic Schedule: Develop a manageable timetable that allocates dedicated time for studies, work, rest, and social activities. In the end you really want to make sure your don’t get burnt out. Chances are, your Year 12 academic results are important for your this year, so it’s important to prioritise time for study at specific times during the week. Once you’ve scheduled in study time, you can then think about scheduling in a smaller amount of time for work around these hours.
Seek Support: Don’t be afraid to seek advice from your your teachers, employers, and family about your commitments and plans. Career advisors and teachers are brilliant resources for helping you develop a plan for study and work that works best for you and your future career and life goals.
Practice Self-Care: Make sure you take time out of your study and work commitments for self-care activities like as exercise, hobbies, and socialising with friends and family. This is especially important during the high-stress time of Year 12 to avoid burnout and maintain your mental health.
Working During Year 12: Conclusion
Deciding whether to work during Year 12 is a personal choice that ultimately depends on your future and current study and career goals. As we said above, a student who wants to get into medicine likely wouldn’t spend as much time working as a student who is looking to enter into a trade, but both of these options are just as valid.
Having said that, it is totally possible to juggle both studying and working during Year 12 and many top students who achieve 99+ ATARs do manage to also maintain casual or part-time work during their senior year. The most important tip these students always say though is to have a rock solid timetable to make sure you’re balancing both your study and work commitments.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your studies! 💕