There will be plenty of joy and disappointment today with the release of the NSW Higher School Certificate results.
While the results represent the culmination of 13 years of education, they should not be seen as the single determination of what individuals can and cannot do.
For those who have achieved the result they expected, or did better than they hoped, then the decision of what to do next will be straightforward. Many students had a career plan prior to the examinations and worked accordingly to earn the marks they needed to go on to further education.
For others, their results will be disappointing. But not achieving the marks you have hoped for does not mean the end of a specific career opportunity. The world is full of examples of people who have carved out the careers they wanted because of tenacity and hard work.
Entry into a university course requiring a lesser admission rank can be a stepping stone to other goals.
And while a large proportion of Year 12 students these days go on to university, tertiary education should not be seen as the determination of success and failure. Australia is full of business moguls, chief executive officers, high-flyers and success stories who did not seek tertiary qualifications. Former prime minister Paul Keating is just one example.
Some students are distracted during their senior secondary years and as a consequence do not realise their full potential, but with maturity comes purpose.
University is not for everyone and it is important not to downplay the career choices being made by students who wish to pursue trades or other vocations.
The Higher School Certificate, while a valuable document, should be seen as the beginning to the future.
To the students who have excelled, congratulations are in order. Particularly, Calrossy Anglican School’s Caitlin Myors who topped the state in primary industries. Those students who may have stumbled are encouraged to move forward and continue to reach for their dreams.