With the final 2017 HSC exams recently concluded last month, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those who have now successfully completed their high school education. This is a significant achievement that this year’s grade 12 cohort ought to be proud of.
It is now time for these young adults to look to their future and decide what path they wish to take towards the next stage of their lives.
For those that plan to undertake further education, either at university, TAFE college or elsewhere, expense is a considerable factor that will influence their final choice.
As a university student myself, I know how difficult it can be to meet the financial demands of further learning. Coming from a rural setting puts students at an even greater disadvantage due to large distances and reduced access. There is, however, help available.
Fortunately, there are organisations that strive to address this pressing need in rural communities just like Grenfell.
I have been extremely privileged in receiving support from both the Royal Agricultural Society Foundation (RASF) and the Country Education Foundation (CEF) during my tertiary studies.
The financial assistance granted to me by these generous organisations has enabled me to attend university in Newcastle; studying a degree program not offered by institutions located closer to home here in Grenfell.
I am just one example of the hugely beneficial work these and many other groups are doing to even the playing field between students in rural and metropolitan areas.
I commend the efforts of RASF, CEF and other similar organisations in maximising the potential of country kids like me.
I strongly encourage those wishing to further their education to look into the support these organisations can offer you; it is well worth your time.
Further information on the RASF can be found at http://www.rasnsw.com.au/foundation/scholarships-and-grants/.
Applications for the 2018 CEF Grants can be made at https://cef.org.au/foundations/grenfell/ up until 31 December.
2017 is coming to an end, and this is a great time to reflect and express our gratitude for all the things that have happened this year. For many of us, it’s a time to finish work or school for the year, unwind and settle into holiday-mode.
Other people may find the festive season very difficult, particularly those experiencing isolation, loneliness or mental health issues. These experiences can all be heightened as we are bombarded with messages of family celebrations, gifts and holidays.
As well as this, thousands of young people may be facing big life changes over the coming months, such as starting a new school, awaiting exam results for higher education opportunities or beginning a job.
Losing the normal routine and structure of school, regular contact with friends or having to financially support themselves can make this time particularly challenging.
Students in university or TAFE may also be facing stressors at this time affecting their mental health and wellbeing. Some young people may have less parental contact leaving them vulnerable and changes in their mental health going unnoticed. Families and friends are key in helping a young person get support.
Knowing the signs and symptoms something might be wrong and then how to get help is important. For anyone supporting a young person they don’t need to be able to solve everything.
However, noticing changes and signs that something isn’t right is a good first step. Being withdrawn, not wanting to be with friends, not doing the things they would normally enjoy, ongoing worry or irritability are just some of the things to look out for. If you need support or advice, headspace is here to help.
As the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace provides support to young people aged 12-25 who are going through a tough time.
This can include support around mental health, physical health, work and study or alcohol and other drugs.
No matter where you are, you can access help through one of our 100 centres in metro, regional and remote areas of Australia, which you can locate on our website headspace.org.au.
There are also various resources for young people, families and friends covering different mental health issues and self-care strategies.
Help can also be accessed via eheadspace.org.au providing online and telephone support between 9am-1am (AEDT), seven days-a-week, including Christmas Day.
From everyone at headspace we wish you and your family a safe, relaxing and enjoyable break over the holidays.