Year 12 students are finally on the home-stretch to completing a very tumultuous and tough academic year.
After COVID delayed the start to their HSC exams by four weeks, 62,650 Year 12s sat their first on Tuesday.
The following day at James Sheahan Catholic High School, as 131 HSC students emerged after completing English paper two, the overwhelmingly feeling was relief.
School leaders Dale Pangilinan, 18, Elizabeth Gibson, 18, and Sarah Gee, 17, agreed that the hardest part of having their exams delayed was maintaining the "momentum".
It had been several months since students had sat trial exams, they explained.
Because it dragged on for so long, the motivation was difficult to [maintain].Year 12 student Sarah Gee
"So that was a bit annoying," Elizabeth said. "It's good to finally get them out of the way. They've been a long time coming, so it's good to start them."
"Because it dragged on for so long, the motivation was difficult to [keep up]," Sarah added.
Dale explained that students had been particularly dreading the two English papers which were held over Tuesday and Wednesday because the exams attributed a large portion to their overall marks.
While HSC exams would continue until December 3, they would be sporadic for most students - with intervals of several days. None would pose the same dread as the essay-writing exams just completed though.
"That's the worst of it done now," Sarah said.
All three students had already been offered places at university.
"Most of us have," Dale said. "That's part of why it's actually hard to get motivated [during exam preparation]."
Dale added that there had seemed to be more opportunity this year for early offers into university for HSC students.
"I think... [it's] because they've got more places without international students, and because they've recognised the hardships [that we've] gone through," he said.
Quite understandably, Dale, Sarah and Elizabeth were all keen to take a gap year before starting university.
In the meantime though, with the most dreaded part of their HSC exams over, all three students said they were most looking forward to catching up on some much-needed sleep.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: