It will all work out: An open letter to 2020’s YEAR 12 students from university chief

University of Central Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp has offered reassurance – and some frank advice – to Year 12 students worrying about their future amid the COVID-19 crisis.

In a lengthy letter published on a Bundaberg local news website on April 6, Professor Klomp acknowledged the great challenges the cohort were facing, but he also stressed their truncated school time would not impact their goal of attending university or TAFE.

He answered the most common concerns of senior students in a Q & A style section of the letter.

In regards to whether the virus would affect their university aspirations, Professor Klomp said: “Absolutely not. Zero chance. A big nooope on that one”.

“We get that it can be difficult to study year 12 from home,” he said. “We get that not all homes and families are the same, and some of you will be disadvantaged by this.

“But if you have tertiary education aspirations, and you are prepared to push yourself this year, put the work in, and seek help and support from your teachers and your schools, then you will find all sorts of flexible arrangements waiting for you at universities and TAFEs.”

Don’t take your foot off the accelerator

As to the fictional query “How can things get any worse for me?”, he offered this frank assessment.

“Easy. Simply neglect your year 12 studies and blow the next six months on Netflix, Xbox and TikTok,” Professor Klomp wrote. “Seriously, worst possible choice, and completely unnecessary.

“Your teachers are working around the clock on solutions to keep your studies going at home. They may not have all the answers in place today, but you should know this: Queensland has one of the most advanced education systems in the world, staffed by the best teachers on the planet.

“They are currently deploying every resource, program and expert into finding a way for you to continue receiving a world class education for the weeks and months to come.

Higher education providers are also working on solutions

Professor Klomp said universities and TAFEs all over the state were working on innovative ways to support and enrol year 12 school leavers whose education may be interrupted by COVID-19.

“My own university is working directly with school principals to identify eager students who might benefit from early enrolment processes….the universities and TAFEs don’t have every answer in place today, but they will be ready for you soon. University and TAFE will absolutely remain an option for you. “

 Be patient with your teachers: they are focused ‘entirely on you’

Professor Klomp finished his letter by urging students to “keep your eye on the prize” while educators devise the solutions.

“That means:

  • Don’t treat 2020 as a Netflix vacation
  • Be patient with your teachers; they have been asked to do the extraordinary and they are focussed entirely on you
  • Stay in touch with your universities and TAFEs; reach out to them and they will offer you information, flexibility and support, even while you are still in year 12
  • Use technology to check in with your friends and classmates regularly; the coming weeks will be made easier by you looking after one another
  • Be forgiving of your parents, these are stressful times for them as well
  • But most importantly, stay on track with your studies and look after yourself. Don’t waste time worrying about things beyond your control – the system will find ways to make adjustments for you. Instead, focus on the things you can control, including what you do with today.”

Read the full letter, as published on Bundaberg Now here.

Read the text on the Central Queensland University website here.