CENTRAL Victoria's year 12 students will return to face-to-face classes next term as the COVID-19 pandemic's second wave eases.
But they will only have a few weeks of classes before they start their final exams.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College year 12 student Greta Schaeche says it will be a challenging time.
It's been an extremely disconcerting few weeks for all Victorians, and the news about our return date to on-site school and cancellation of other events adds to the disheartening feelings many VCE students are experiencing.
I think for so many of us, graduation and muck-up day provided a real sense of hope and some reassurance that we could still have a somewhat "normal" conclusion to what has already been a really challenging and disruptive year. So the news that they will be highly altered this year is really disappointing.
Every student longs for that time where they can celebrate the efforts they've put in over 13 years of schooling and walk across that stage in front of their loved ones to receive recognition. So to hear that this will not be possible is really hard.
I think a major component of that is the difficulty to maintain motivation and get through the upcoming exam period with no sign of a celebratory 'light' at the end of the demanding time that is VCE.
But I think many students would support me in thanking the incredible efforts our teachers are putting in to make this time as manageable and positive as possible. I really acknowledge how difficult it must be for them to uphold a positive face and such a profound level of support despite the remote circumstances.
I really do have faith that the final three weeks of our schooling after term four commences (where we hopefully get to remain on-site) will be made as memorable as possible through the support of our friends and teachers.
Although this year has been incredibly hard, no one will ever forget the resilience and courage shown by the class of 2020.
Catherine McAuley College year 12 student Tania Hutchinson agreed the year had not been easy.
As we near closer to the end of term three, us year 12s are moving scarily closer to our end of year exams. After the recent restriction announcements, it is clear we have missed out on our last weeks of real learning at school.
When we are set to properly return to face-to-face classes on October 13, virtually all of our assessments will be finished and all that will be left is exam revision before our exams begin on November 9 - for some of us even earlier with oral and performance exams for languages and drama beginning in late October.
This leaves us with little time to just appreciate and enjoy being with our friends and learning in school.
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I feel this second round of remote learning has been much easier than the first. We all now have practice in all the confusing technology and have developed new routines, but it feels like we never left in the first place.
Yes, we have had periods at school at the beginning of the year and at the beginning of this term, but among the restrictions and cancellations of events, it feels like we've been stuck in remote learning much longer than we actually have.
Of the 35 or so weeks year 12s had of school this year - keeping in mind that we have had public holidays and pupil free days - we've spent around 14 weeks of that in remote learning and majority of the year without any extra-curricular activities or events at school.
This would've been even less time at school had our exams not been postponed to accommodate for this year's difficulties.
You really don't realise how important those seemingly 'silly' or 'boring' events at school are until they are your last, and you don't get a chance to have them again.
There's no way to sugar coat it, 2020 has been an awful year for everyone in different ways. I think all of us year 12s are just ready to get our exams finished and move on to the next stage of our lives.
For all the struggle it's been, this year has been a bit of a blessing in disguise, helping us to become more independent and self-driven people.
It's also helped us to step back and realise that school is not our entire lives and there are other equally important things such as our hobbies and spending time with our friends and family.
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