Year 12 student, Adeline Sanders, is reflecting on her good fortune.

“Over the January holidays I thought a lot about the great support system I have,” she says. “Not only family, but the life I am able to live.”

Adeline’s interests are diverse.  A love of jazz and playing the euphonium have been central to her life over the past five years. She is also an accomplished circus skills performer and teacher, enjoys aerial silks, and is highly accomplished at crochet.

While all these interests are life-enriching and extremely enjoyable, last year’s Covid lockdowns proved just how distracting they could be too.

“I had taken Psychology 3/4 as part of my Year 11 workload,” Adeline says, “but when I got my results I was disappointed.

“It motivated me to think about how I’d used my time and what I wanted for Year 12.”

This reflective approach brought other insights too.

“During the lockdowns my interests outside school became a bit of a downfall for my studies,” Adeline says. “I was so busy trying to fit everything in and stay in close contact with my friends through social media that I was staying up ridiculously late. I was sometimes falling asleep during the day.

“I’m sure all that online time lessens our capacity to concentrate.”

As Adeline’s year progressed, sleep, healthy food and regular exercise began to take a back-seat. Keeping on top of homework became impossible.

Beginning Year 12, armed with new insights, she plans to avoid the pitfalls that made Year 11 so frustrating at times.

“My teachers have been so supportive, even when I was struggling to keep up last year,” Adeline says. “They also took an interest in me beyond whether I had handed in work. On reflection, I should have reached out more than I did.”

In 2022, she has already set up weekly 15-minute catch-ups with her teachers and is applying some good psychology to herself.

“I’ve found that positive self-talk can make a big difference to how engaged I am,” she says. “I might say to myself ‘ten more minutes now is ten minutes you won’t have to do tomorrow’.”

This front-foot approach has already paid dividends, particularly in Maths where Adeline is staying ahead in her tasks .

With Psychology 3/4 under her belt, she has four subjects this year: English Language, Biology, Further Maths and Music Performance.

Music Performance is one of Adeline’s favourite subjects. She plays the euphonium as well as some trombone and piano.

She fell for the euphonium at a ‘come and try’ evening at BSE in Year 7, eventually joining the BSE jazz band. A standout experience was being part of the ‘Generations in Jazz’ program run in Mount Gambier by the James Morrison Academy of Music.

“The first year we went there, they had The Cat Empire as artists-in-residence,” she recalls. “We all became total fans.”

Music may seem a natural continuation for Adeline, but her focus has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. While she knows she’ll always play music, it’s her circus and aerial skills that have come to the fore.

“I feel like that’s something I need to pursue while I’m young,” she says.

A gap year after Year 12 is definitely on the cards with hopes that by 2023 Covid will no longer be dictating our lives so she can travel freely—both around Australia and to the US and Canada.

“Maybe I’ll work on the snow fields during the northern hemisphere winter,” she muses. “Maybe I’ll come back to Australia and study science… I really don’t know yet.”

Given how much she’s learnt about herself and life over the past 12 months, Adeline would have some sage advice if she could go back in time and meet her 12-year-old self.

“I’d reassure her that everything will be fine. You don’t need to impress anyone… just be kind to yourself.”