THE HSC exam period is a stressful time for local year 11 and 12 students, but a NSW psychologist is pushing the reminder that it isn't the only avenue into post-school years.
The timetable for exams in October has officially been released, and it's reminded students they're coming up fast, with trial exams coming even sooner.
But New England North West Centacare principal psychologist, Josie Hofman, is urging students to take a deep breath and remember there are other ways into uni or careers.
As the executive leader for headspace, Ms Hofman said HSC and trial exams were a common topic Tamworth psychologists discussed with young people every year.
"It's part and parcel of our year 12 clients and they're even worrying as early as year 11 because they start year 12 in year 11 so they're already planning and concerned about the future," Ms Hofman said.
"Stress and the HSC are very closely aligned and that's because there's a lot of internal pressures people put on themselves that it's the be-all and end-all, but young people don't always realise there are other options and alternatives.
"This idea that if you don't do well in the HSC, it's going to impact your life forever ... it's not accurate. There's different ways to get into uni and also to finish year 12 and that can be done through TAFE and other institutions."
This also includes bridging courses into university straight after school or later in life as an older student.
Information about these university courses, and associated TAFE courses, can be found on the relevant websites.
Ms Hofman said it was the perfect time to ensure students had a good school/life balance, too.
"They should be engaged in meaningful activities outside school, active social lives, and even try to do studying in a group mode so they're having positive interactions in that time," she told the Leader.
"Maintain movement in your life, get outdoors, get some sunshine and Vitamin D.
"The social aspect really is important, not just social media but meeting up with friends and family and having a life outside of your HSC commitments."
She believed local schools did well in ensuring students weren't overwhelmed with exams.
"Schools have been dealing with this for a long time and they try their best to provide avenues like careers councillors or equivalent positions and providing that education and support," Ms Hofman said.
If you are stressed about the HSC or school life, contact Tamworth headspace on 6762 9290.
- Lifeline - 13 11 14, Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800