Tom Keele sheds light on life of a Year 12 student during the pandemic

By Alex Gretgrix

YOU'RE told Year 12 is one of the most important years of your schooling life.

And as you move towards adulthood, your last school year is supposed to be full of exciting milestones.

You're able to get your driver's licence, you're able to go out with your mates and of course you're one step closer to creating your own career path and moving out of home.

But for the Class of 2020, their year is shaping up to be very, very different.

It began as a normal year, but when COVID-19 hit, it all began to change.

Moama Anglican Grammar student Tom Keele knows this all too well.

“It's been a really big change,” he said.

“Year 12 is stressful in itself, but adding something like this to the mix makes everything a big harder.”

Students were told to set up their own study space at home and study online, which has brought with it a mixed bag of reactions.

“It has it's ups and downs,” Tom said.

“We have construction going on next door so that is a bit of a distraction.

“But it's good to be able to be on your own without classmate distracting you, even if it does get a bit lonely sometimes.”

Tom has found it's easier to follow his usual day as if he were still at school.

“I try to keep to my timetable as much as possible,” he said.

“I'm lucky I completed a Year 12 subject last year. So because of that I've only for four subjects, but I feel for those who have five all at once.”

And although he can't physically meet up with his teachers or class mates, that doesn't mean there's no contact at all.

“Our teachers are always there too help if we need it and my friends and I call each other every so often to see how we're getting on,” he said.

“It's just a shame we can't be sharing this experience this together in person like years have in the past.”

Tom said students were feeling the pinch of being apart.

“While we're working hard to get to the next stage of our lives, we're supposed to be together and having fun at the same time,” he said.

“It's hard when you're so excited to get to Year 12 and have all the experiences others have before you and not be able to do that.”

And while it's been a learning curve for everyone, the experience has cemented Tom's ideas for the future.

“I sort of knew I wanted to go into the Defence Force, but since all of this has happened, it's made me realise it's what I really want to do,” he said.

“While I'm still doing my school work, I've been training and attending the tests so I have the ball rolling.

“Mum and Dad have been really supportive and although I would go into the Defence Force as soon as I could, I'm going to continue my study until whatever happens happens.”