This year around 40,000 young Queenslanders have said goodbye to school, are waiting for their OP score and are making their way into the world, writes Emily Jade O’Keeffe

High school has finally finished and year 12 students are about to march into the real world but some are holding their breath for that OP score.  Remember you are not your OP score!

Some tentatively and others, like me when I was 17, excited about what the future may hold. I remember it vividly. With my hair newly permed and my braces finally off, I moved to Melbourne because I was going to score myself a role on Neighbours and fulfill my dream of becoming an actress. A few months later I was working in the deli of Coles in Nunawading and the closest I had come to Neighbours was visiting the street it was filmed on. After a few reassessments of my future, accepting an enrolment to university, and moving back to my home state, I got myself back on track.

Brisbane author Rebecca Sparrow feels the same way, which is why she has written her fifth book Find your Feet (the 8 other things I wish I had known before I left high school). “I could have made it a hundred,” Rebecca says. “So I grouped it into travel, volunteering, work experience, relationships and setting boundaries. I thought about the things I really wished I known and worked back from there.”

Far from hating school, Rebecca was one of the rare few that adored it. “I loved high school and I’m still friends with a lot of my school friends…they just wondered if I would ever stop perming my hair!”

There was another reason Rebecca felt it so important to write a book for our school leavers. “What’s invisible to young women is that they admire successful people but they don’t realise the tough steps it took to get there. But the screw-ups in life are as important as the successes because it moves us towards the end goal.”

Rebecca still believes the same issues worry our young graduates. “They are in love with someone who doesn’t know they exist, fighting with parents and worried about the future. I think the single most important lesson for teenagers to know is that nothing ruins your life forever,” she says. “You will get through it and people will forget and if you have family and your friends you will be okay.”

A point I couldn’t agree more on, unless you keep perming your hair. Thankfully both Rebecca and I worked that one out.

You need to find out who you are and where you want to go in life. An OP score does not define who this person is.