Lessons in life during a pandemic

Salesian College Sunbury year 12 student Tilly Crowther. (Supplied)

Star Weekly asked year 12 students from Salesian College Sunbury what it has been like to study for their VCE studies amid a global pandemic. These are the responses of students Michaela, Tilly and Riley .


As I sit here and reflect on my Year 12 on day 200-and-something of this pandemic, and in the middle of another long-term lockdown, I still don’t know how we’ve gotten through it. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been hard. The motivation to study has been at an absolute low. After spending 8:30am – 2:40pm behind a screen each day, studying each night after that has simply been unrealistic for many of us. We’ve done what we can, taking each day at a time. Unfortunately not

much has really been able to distract us from the reality of the situation; we’ve just had to push through what’s been a gruelling year.

However, we’ve still had things to be grateful for. Attending chemistry classes from bed, or telling teachers we were doing maths when we’re really out getting Maccas, or having English teachers ask us to read from the book while we’d be frantically texting mates asking them what page we’re on, and making the most of Google to help find the right answer to things (without the teaching knowing).

Our teachers have been absolutely amazing, giving up their weekends to help us with our studies, but more importantly, just being available to check in on us and have a chat. For this, I’m so grateful. It really has made a world of difference. Our school has done so much to help us with our wellbeing and to maintain a sense of normalcy in a year that has been anything but normal.

To all the year 12s, well done for keeping your heads held high. I’m looking forward to our final eight days of school together, before we head into these exams and say goodbye to an era of schooling with an ending we’ll never forget. Just wait for when we never have to hear “y=mx+c” ever again!


Learning from home and studying during a pandemic isn’t the most ideal situation to be in as a year 12 student. It has been challenging needing to be dependent on my own self-motivation to remain accountable, while my wellbeing has been impacted by not being able to socialise as regularly with friends. For myself, the most challenging part of the pandemic has been the ongoing lockdowns in having to change routine from one week to the next to adapt to the new circumstances.

But being able to persevere through these difficult times has also been made easier, as I know I have this end goal of completing my schooling with my year 12 peers. This, along with some personal goals, has helped me to get through and recognise how it will all be worth it. There have been times throughout the year where I have mentally struggled, however, being at home provided me with the support of my family who helped me get through and recognise how to change and use the pandemic to my advantage.

The pandemic, while having its challenges, has overall helped me improve myself to make the most of year 12.


The past two years have unquestionably been unstable, providing continuous hurdles for students to compete while undertaking studies and trying to maintain a social circle. These years have presented me with academic and social complications, but I have learnt vital lessons which a conventional classroom environment couldn’t foster.

I remember being quite taken back with the announcement of school closures and stage four lockdowns. Since then, undoubtedly I am a changed student, community member and person. Off campus learning and lockdowns have nurtured a new type of learning, a learning which is more than understanding of content, but rather understanding of self. At times I felt frustrated that my learning was being undertaken in an unconventional manner. But I can now see that this was an opportunity to explore who I want to be and what I want to achieve. It taught me resilience, strength in uncertainty and hope for what is to come.