That was the overriding emotion Albion Park High School students Hailee Pickering and Lorena Ramirez felt after completing their first HSC exam on Tuesday.
English was the first of 120 written HSC exams more than 73,000 students across NSW will sit for over the next three weeks.
Albion Park pair Hailee and Lorena told the Mercury they were relieved to have completed their first exam, after what has been a "very trying and stressful year".
"It has been stressful. That six weeks when we weren't at school were very stressful," Hailee said.
"When we came back some students had done the work, while others hadn't. It was a big stressful thing but eventually we got through it and things improved."
Lorena agreed the year had been difficult, adding she was looking forward to finishing her HSC and starting her primary teaching degree at the University of Wollongong in 2021.
"I still have five more exams to go but I'm extremely relieved to get the first one out of the way," she said.
"After the year we've had I just can't wait until this year is over and I can hopefully start uni next year."
Ursula Cable, the advanced English teacher for Year 12 students at Albion Park High, praised her "resilient" students.
"We've had fire, floods, COVID and isolation......it has been a really challenging year for our students," she said.
We've had fire, floods, COVID and isolation......it has been a really challenging year for our students.Albion Park High School English teacher Ursula Cable
"I think for our students, the incredible show of resilience in being here today and achieving their HSC....it's been wonderful.
"There has been many challenges which they've met head on. I'm really proud of them."
Mrs Cable though was optimistic most Albion Park students had done well in the English exam paper.
"I feel we've had the best case scenario here today," she said.
"The students have been preparing for their common module paper by looking at the descriptor....which talks about individual and personal experience. It also talks about individual and collective experiences and that is one of the focuses for our students in the paper today.
"The question asked about the personal shared experience, so they came out feeling really optimistic and I was so pleased to hear that."
Hailee and Lorena though weren't feeling as confident as their teacher.
"I think I went okay. Managing my time was probably the hardest thing. We only had an hour and a half to write an essay and answer the questions.
"There was a lot to write," Hailee, who has been accepted to study communications in journalism at UOW next year, said.
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