Life as a graduating year 12 student in the midst of a pandemic!
By Lily Mercuri (Senior VCAL student, Hastings Campus)

After finishing up at a mainstream school in 2019, I was beyond excited to start my next chapter as a Senior VCAL student at Advance College. I started in late December 2019 in the kick-start program, where I got a taste of what school life was going to be like at Advance.

I can tell you that I loved it from my first impression and made me glad I chose this pathway. I felt like I belonged somewhere at a place where people cared about your health and wellbeing.

Not long into the start of 2020 the world had changed. This saw a change in the way school would be delivered, and let me tell you I was not a fan of it….

That change was online learning from home. A lot of challenges and emotions came from this change as it was hard to adapt to school life at home. I found it hard to focus and get work done as I needed to be in a school environment.
We finally got to go back mid-year, but it didn’t last long which saw us go back to online learning. I told myself I would try to attempt and do online learning, which I did and it made me proud of how hard I worked and the effort I put in.

As time went on, lockdown was taking its toll, I started losing all motivation and hope of passing and achieving anything. But something changed and from all the hard work of Victorians, COVID19 eased in Victoria.

I finally got my license, which took a lot of time and effort, I finally got back to work and making money again and being around people that made me happy.

Going back to school and being in a classroom felt like winning the lottery. I told myself I would put 110% effort in finishing all my work so I could pass and feel like I had accomplished something. I set out to achieve that goal, and now, I write this letter today, as a graduating year 12 student, class of 2020.

It is crazy to think 13 years of schooling is done, and I am so grateful for all the support I have received from teachers, peers and family to get me to where I am today.

At times I questioned why a virus and why 2020? But I learnt along the way, that you can’t change things that’re out of your hands, sometimes you just have to accept a situation and make the best out of it. I learnt to be patient, because good things comes to those who wait. It made me realise how important people are and you can’t take them for granted.

Although 2020 wasn’t the year I planned, it definitely was a year of change, acceptance and patience. Which has made me see life differently. I move on now, to go and complete my Diploma in Early Childhood and continue my part time job at the carwash.

Thank you to everyone at Advance who made the year fun and a year never to forget.

End of year celebration with our Hastings students