It’s difficult to remember that there is more to life than your ATAR score. Especially when you’ve spent months preparing and stressing out over exams. It often feels like the fate of your future depends on you getting a high ATAR, but in reality, it doesn’t.

The College at Western Sydney University offers a huge amount of diploma courses for anyone who didn’t get the ATAR score they were hoping for, or don’t have one at all. These diplomas make it possible for anyone to study at university and gain a higher level qualification.

Because of this, we thought we’d remind you of some of the things in life that matter more than your ATAR.

1 – Your mental health

Your mental health is more important than anything when you’re young. The pressure that HSC and getting a good ATAR score puts on young people can be difficult to handle. If you’re not coping, it’s ok to take a step back and chill out, there are always options!

2 – Your physical health

This one is plain and simple. You’re not gonna get much done in life if you’re so focused on studying that you let your diet and physical health slip. This also has a major effect on your mental health!

3 – Socialising

Your youth is an important time for socialising. Through your late teens and early adulthood, if you’re not getting out and being social at least occasionally, you’re not gonna be in the best frame of mind. Maybe it’s time to take a night off from study and catch up with some friends…

4 – Life experience

Yeah having a good ATAR is helpful for getting into uni, but there are other ways to start your higher education. It’s not worth missing out some of life’s most money-can’t-buy experiences that will enrich your mind, body and spirit in a way that hitting the textbooks may not. Go out and volunteer in a field your passionate about, be a production assistant on Home & Away or delve into the wild world of bartending – the possibilities are truly endless, and you may find out what your path. 

5 – Work experience

Why spend all your spare time holed up in a room studying? You could take some time to get out there and get real world work experience in almost any industry. So many places offer internships or entry level opportunities, and a lot of them are paid!

6 – Exploring your passions

It’s pretty unlikely that everyone will know what they want to do for the rest of their life at 17. Why let yourself get so stressed over something that might not even hold a relevance to you or your future? Whether you want to learn how to draw, or you want to become a world champion cup-stacker. Do it!

7 – Family

You only get one family, and chances are any stress over your HSC and ATAR is going to be taken out on them. It’s important to remember they’re there to support you and letting your stress over something so minimal affect those relationships may not be worth it.

8 – Friends

Your friends are all going through the same thing with their ATAR. Why not focus on hanging out and having a good time together instead of freaking out over your ATAR. At the end of the day, some of your friends right now might be heading on different paths soon, take the time you have and make it fun!

9 – Climate change

Whilst you were too preoccupied analysing Othello and memorising the Periodic Table, it may have swept your mind that world is currently in environmental shambles and Mother Nature as we know it undertaking immense stress and change. The ice caps are melting and the world is getting warmer. Summer in Australia is already too hot, but let’s not get to a point where the earth’s temperature is higher than your ATAR. Take some time to immerse yourself in the many options out there to lessen your carbon footprint and make the world a brighter place. 

10 – Life balance

Finding a balance between study/work/fun and everything else that makes up our busy lives can be difficult. Having an appropriate balance is important for your mental health and general wellbeing. If you spend too much time focusing on study and then making up for lost work time, you leave yourself with no time for fun activities or even just sleep.

 11 – Your purpose

Making sure you have a purpose for your actions is always important, but is the purpose always right? Studying your ass off just so you can get an ATAR that you might not even need or want to use. Finding your purpose in life is more important than a number telling you how “smart” you are.

12 – Travel

There is so much of the world to see. It is important to experience the trials, tribulations, highs and lows of travelling. We think it’s essential to travel before you launch headfirst into a university course. Travelling will take you out of your comfort zone and teach you independence and cultural tolerance.

13 – Renovating your house on The Sims

At this point, The Sims is the only way any of us will be able to afford our dream homes. Even then most of us are still cheating.

Watch: The Sims 4 – Infinite Money Cheat

14 – Your self-worth

Beating yourself up over your ATAR score is not good and shouldn’t happen. Having self-respect and a sense of self-worth shouldn’t be dependant on that score. Prioritise yourself and being happy with yourself over being miserable and down about yourself because of a number.

15 – Community

Don’t be a hermit. Involve yourself in the community that surrounds you. Australia has such a diverse cultural spectrum throughout, why not celebrate that?

16 – Your happiness

If what you’re doing isn’t making you happy, why bother? You’ve gotta do things for you!

17 – The impending Internet Apocalypse 

We all need it. If you know you know. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Slack, Twitter and more, all down in one day. Detox from the chokehold of society’s obsession with clicks, likes and external approval.

So what’s next?

If you’re stressed about your ATAR and what it means for your future, remember there are always options whether you have a high ATAR, a low one, or even if you don’t have one.

The College at Western Sydney University has a massive range of 12 month diplomas on offer for anyone with an ATAR score of 55 or higher, and if you don’t have an ATAR you can enrol in their 16 month diplomas.

Outside of giving you a higher qualification than high school, these give you a chance to experience university, experiment with your passions, and the opportunity to continue on into the second year of your relevant degree if you decide you like it!

Take the stress and worry out of your summer by pushing your ATAR aside and focusing on all the incredible possibilities you still have in front of you.

Check out all the opportunities that The College at Western Sydney University has on their website.