The Importance of Resilience

2020 was always going to be a different year for our Year 12s. For the first time in a long time, the students were not going to be preparing for a QCS test and looking to attain an OP as they finished.  

Instead, this year’s Seniors are the first cohort of Queensland students to be sitting external exams, unseen by both students and their teachers until the day of the exam – the thought of which creates more than a few nerves in students and teachers alike. This year’s Seniors will also be the first Queensland cohort to attain an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) as their main method of gaining university entrance.   

On top of all of this change, COVID-19 entered their lives and everything changed again. Not only were students forced into online learning, but they were also faced with the real possibility that many of the things they expected to experience in their final year at the College would be taken from them too. 

Intimidating – yes! A little scary – absolutely! But did our Year 12s shy away from the challenge? Of course not!  

There is no doubt that many of our students have experienced disappointment and even some resentment at the events of this year. That is to be expected. What is impressive however, is how well they have faced these challenges head on, with a sense of purpose and determination not often seen in people so young.    

They have demonstrated ‘resilience’, one of the most important traits a person can have in our ever-changing world.   

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress”. 

Being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t face challenges. It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to feel disappointment or get upset when things don’t go your way. Being resilient means that you can acknowledge that bad things happen but that these adverse events don’t have to dictate the outcome of your life. It means that you can move on, focus on the positives and look for solutions when things get tough.   

The American Psychological Association suggests resilience is something that you can learn and that anyone can increase their resilience. It takes time and dedication but focusing on four core components is a great place to start. They are:

  • Building your connections (prioritising relationships)
  • Fostering wellness (taking care of your body and mind)
  • Finding purpose (helping others and being proactive)
  • Embracing healthy thoughts (keeping things in perspective and maintaining a hopeful outlook)  

Our Year 12s have demonstrated these key ideas across a range of areas:   

While learning at home, they remained committed to staying in touch with their peers and teachers using technology to do so. Since returning to the campus, they have focused on ensuring that they are a cohesive unit, working together to keep everyone on track.  

Many of you will have seen the wonderful clips posted to our Facebook page, organised and created by our Year 12 Leaders, giving tips and hints on how to focus on wellness while at home. Since returning, the students have organised and participated in events such as the Year 12 dance activity, coordinated by Rose Hackett and Mia Burtenshaw. These kinds of activities not only allow the students to participate in some physical activity but also give them a laugh and allow them to relax and have a bit of fun.   

They have continued to participate in Mingling Mondays and the Junior Buddies Program. These programs get them out across the entire College providing a helping hand and extra guidance to students in all year levels.   

The students are now moving into the Term 3 exam block, where they will complete mock exams in preparation for the final external exams in Term 4. I couldn’t be prouder of how they have prepared for these exams. More importantly though, I am incredibly proud of how they have faced the challenges of this year and maintained a positive outlook through it all.   

Good luck next week Year 12, we are all wishing you the best!   

Melissa Presland
Acting Dean of Senior School