I’m pretty sure I’ve been planning my senior year since primary school. There’s this one distinct memory I have of sitting down and counting the years to work out which one I’d graduate in. From that moment on 2020 become a year of countless expectations.

Though I know it’s not wise to think so – as Dumbledore says, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget how to live” – I’d always imagined that when I got to grade twelve, everything would fall into place. Blame it on romanticized coming-of-age movies, but I’d had this ideal hanging over my head for so long that when the year came around it didn’t quite seem real.

To use a metaphor – in true Hillbrook style, I’ll compare the journey to Grade Twelve to a road trip.

In grade seven you pack the car, make sure you’ve got absolutely everything you need – snacks, the perfect playlist, a proper map to guide you. You have a plan, a strategy, and you are determined to not be distracted from your end destination.

But soon enough you realise you have to make pitstops – it’s an inevitability really.


No one can drive for six hours without a needing a break to refuel, or go to the bathroom, or eat. As much as you want to make it to your final destination as soon as possible, you have to park the car at some point.

And as much as you’ve planned, you can’t predict everything out on the road. There’s bound to be a car crash or road works that will slow you down at some point. While you’ve packed the perfect snacks, made the best playlist and know exactly where you’re going you can never account for the detours.

In the beginning the prospect of waiting even longer to get to that dream location seems laughable – why on earth would you stop and stretch your legs when you could keep speeding onwards?

If you spend your time locked in the car, imagining the final destination, refusing to move your feet off the pedals, or take the scenic route, you’ll find when you get there that all you’ve built is momentum.

You’ve reached that destination. You’re there.

You get out of the car and explore, take a deep breath in. You feel so…. content. Satisfied. Accomplished. You’ve finally reached the view you’ve been dreaming of! 

But in the back of your mind, there’s one little question. What now? Where next?

Now, had you not made all those pitstops, you would have no clue how to start again. You’d be too tired – too carsick and weary. The very thought of getting back into the driver’s seat is enough to make you cry.

However, having taken those breaks to refuel and refresh, you’ve learnt all you need to get started again. Every time you stopped the car you lost momentum, and each time you had to build it up again to drive on.

Grade twelve is always going to be a big year. Regardless of whether you’re the first to trial a new education system, or a global pandemic is raging outside. It’s integral to let yourself rest, and to set smaller goals and pitstops to reach, rather than focalising on the massive mountains in the distance.

And, as much as it’s been said before, you really do have to appreciate every minute you have, because as I’m now finding out, once you realise time is travelling fast, there’s no way to slow it down.

To put it all simply, life is not about the destination, but the journey.

2020 Year 12 Graduating Student