A 99.1 ATAR does not come easy. Yet for Aniqa Aamir, she was partying at a wedding the night before her Extension 2 Maths HSC.
Meet Aniqa: the 17 year old high school graduate who competed against her peers to score in the top one percentile in the entire state. With the drive to inspire anyone to resit their HSC, the 2017 high achiever spoke about the good, the bad and the tips to improve studying.
While Aniqa’s goal was simply to perform as well as she could, deep beneath the surface she ensured that she met her own individual standard: to prove to those around her that she was able to succeed.
“I had my own standards that I wanted to fulfil… but the only way I could pay [my parents] for all that they’ve done is to be doing well and make them happy.”
But it wasn’t just her parents that the all-rounding performer wanted to show her outstanding academic performance. It was also the male peers in her classes who dominated the class-roll and constrained her ability to feel confident as a female.
“I just wanted to represent women at the end of the day… I was surrounded by people who underestimated us so I just really wanted to do it for that.”
“I remember one of the guys actually said to me, ‘oh it’s really sad that girls compete with guys’. At the time, I was like ‘what? What do you mean?’ From that point on, I said to myself that I’m going to prove to them that I can do it.”
Aniqa receiving a Band Six in all of her subjects (Advanced English, Extension 1 and 2 Maths, Chemistry and Physics) is undoubtedly a feat that was worth celebrating. But taking a trip down memory lane reminded her that adversity is a stranger to no one. Feeling ill on the day of her Maths exam, leaving school to the doctor and receiving medication two hours before the exam she had been waiting to sit for twelve years…
She had one word to describe this first HSC experience: “ridiculous”.
But, after sitting the other exams, she had another very different word that overcame her when she stepped out of the school gates for the final time: “overrated”. It’s no surprise that the HSC is a year that is made to be the most daunting time for Year 12 students and by the end, Aniqa believes that “you just need to chill and trust yourself and have some faith in yourself”. For her, that meant attending her cousin’s pre-wedding the night before Advanced English and wedding before her Extension 2 Maths Exam!
When asking Aniqa what skills she utilised to receive such outstanding results, her answer was so simple yet so great. Self-motivation was what allowed the 99.1 performer to push forward, even at the most difficult times throughout the year. Reminding herself that she and she alone would be the ultimate game changer in making a sturdy difference in her assessment results is what ultimately got her through.
“Yes, you do have that school network but no one really is always going to be there for you. So you have to be able to tell yourself, ‘ok I’m going to do all this’ and actually get it done,” she said.
Officially leaving high school behind and entering her first year of tertiary study at University of New South Wales, Aniqa has some words for those who might not be so confident with their own achievements at school.
“I’ve always believed in one thing: hard work beats talent. When you work hard and put your heart to something, it won’t give up on you. It will be there for you. Go to your teachers, go to your tutors, go tutoring, whatever support you need, just get it there so you can push yourself up.”
And we totally agree.
Aniqa now works at Chalkwall, helping others do exactly as she did last year, and continues to inspire and motivate our students and those around her by the woman she has worked so hard to become.