STUDYING for the Higher School Certificate already evokes feelings of certain and stress, let alone throwing a global pandemic into the mix.
That has been the reality faces Leeton shire's year 12 student cohort across its three high schools.
When restrictions were first implemented, students were among those affected.
Learning from home got underway and there was uncertainty about what this would mean for those studying for their HSC exams.
However, the road has now been made clearer, with new dates set down for the exams and students are back in the classroom.
Exams will get underway in late October, which is only a slight delay, with results released in December.
Year 12 students from St Francis College in Leeton have shared what the experience has been like for them.
Laura Iannelli, who is also a school captain in 2020, said when the seriousness of the pandemic started to hit home for schools, it was a stressful time.
"It was quite stressful at the beginning as it was so new however, after a couple of weeks I learnt to cope with it and adapt to the new learning style," she said.
"Learning from home for five weeks it was difficult that we could not have the in-class, face-to-face learning along, with discussions as that is how I learn best.
"There were some big topics that we had to teach ourselves with little feedback as to if we were on the right track or not."
Year 12 students were among those given priority to return to school to receive face-to-face learning as they continue to make their way through the many assessment tasks and study required throughout their final year of high school.
Fellow student Molly Cattle, who boards at the college, said while it had been a hard time for the year group, there were some positives.
"It has been a very stressful time for every student, let alone year 12 students, but if it has shown or taught us anything, it's proved we can achieve anything we put our minds to no matter what life throws at us," she said.
Molly said she found setting reasonable goals along the way to be a helpful coping mechanism.
"Organizing things, having routines and sticking to them," she said.
Staff at the school have been working with the students where possible when online learning was taking place.
However, not being in the classroom has made this difficult, as well as students trying to find the motivation to keep going.
The students said there remained some worry about how the learning from home would impact their marks at the end of the year.
"The impacts exceed the immediate time we had off school," Jake Jewell, a boarder from West Wyalong said.
"The school facilitated the learning well, and generally, I found my work very directed and the expectations of my teachers were made very clear.
"Also, for the most part, these expectations and learning goals were considerably realistic."
Each of the three students said it was important for the year group to stick together and be supportive as they get back into a classroom routine.
"Keep going, we're nearly there," Laura said.