The recollection of my HSC journey is a polar opposite to the standard recounts of how students achieve the elusive four-digit figure that remains stuck to the wall above your desk.
During my schooling years, the association with the ‘drop-kick’ school I attended slowly ebbed its way into the classroom as I slowly fit the part and became a ‘drop-kick’ student.
This continued until Year 11, which is when the rollercoaster ride started.
The beginning was promising. A few weeks in and I was actually doing my homework. It was the beginning of the ride. The ascension before the inevitable drop. I was buckled in, my smile reflecting the adrenaline bursting through me.
But there’s a dominant issue with adrenaline; it soon tapers off. My attitude slowly but surely culminated into a downwards-spiralling ultimatum that would determine the remnants of my schooling life. At that point, I was above the legal age to drop-out of school and HSC was just around the corner. There’s a split second in every rollercoaster ride where your heart plummets as the carriage takes a chilling dip and all you yearn for is to get off the jolting vehicle.
That was me; I wanted out. I decided that if my overall wellbeing during the first few weeks of Year 12 was enough to make me jump off my carriage and into the deep end, I’d drop out and do a trade.
Three weeks in and I was struggling immensely. This is where my initial encounter with Chalkwall came in, and to my salvation at that. Naturally intrigued and really dreading the idea of doing a trade for the rest of my life, I attended a Year 12 seminar titled: “How to Succeed in Your HSC”. A few minutes passed and in walked a bearded fellow of average stature with a presence that far outclassed his physical nature.
His name: Wesam Krayem.
His effect: changing the entire course of my HSC and subsequently, my life.
I became a student of Wesam’s Year 12 Maths General class after being quite fascinated by his entrance. My first class was a truly humbling experience. We sat an algebra test that lesson – a topic I had no clue about. My 30% achievement in that test was a stark reminder of where I actually stood in relation to my HSC.
Yet another sharp plunge – this time, my ego.
My prior perceptions on external tutoring was that it was utilised as a supplement to your schoolwork. Wesam’s class completely transformed this idea through one of the very few tutoring companies that provided a framework completely fixated on bettering their students as a whole. Chalkwall epitomises this philosophy, as was demonstrated to me since my first lesson. Every time I thought I was sure to be flung off this speeding machine of dives, turns and the ever so rapidly changing altitudes, Chalkwall was the seatbelt that kept me grounded. It placed an emphasis on the fact that the ability to work hard was indeed superior to any natural ability that a student possessed.
My final mark acts as tangible proof that a student’s attitude and willingness to work produces the results, rather than their gifted talent or their ‘subject kit’.
ATAR: 96.55 – Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies), University of Sydney.
When assessing the impetus for undertaking the HSC it is vital to view the ATAR as a gateway rather than a number. The ATAR I achieved, although not the highest, allowed me to study what I actually wanted to.
After all, despite the screams, cries and shrieks, once the ride is over you always think ‘Ah, that wasn’t so bad’.