ASK any parent what it's like to have a child studying for their New South Wales HSC and they'll probably tell you it is an exercise in patience.
With three children having just completed the HSC through Trinity Catholic College at once, Jacquie McCalman must surely be close to sainthood by now.
"It was physically less challenging than looking after the triplets when they were newborns, but not quite so easy balancing the emotions," Mrs McCalman said.
"Probably the biggest challenge for us was ensuring they maintained a work life balance and keeping it real - failing the ATAR isn't the end of the world - we had to make sure they were all just doing their best."
Triplets Abigail, William and Andrew did have some advantages in that they were able to help each other study, particularly those subjects which they did simultaneously, such as Advanced English and Religion.
"We had an immediate study group and peer support, there was always someone to help proof our work. We had a maths tutor as well. He would come every Monday, not just for us but for our two younger brothers as well," Abigail said.
Another benefit of studying together was the level of emotional support they were able to offer each other.
"I guess we all kind of understood what each other were going through. I'm a stress-head so when I get stressed I get very upset. It was nice that my brothers…really understood what I was going through," Abigail said.
"We'd go and watch an episode of House and then motivate each other to keep going.
"Andrew studied a lot more than Will and I, but Will and I did a lot more extra-curricular activities. When it came to the HSC we would all work together and sit on each other's beds and discuss what subjects we were doing.
"I wouldn't say there was any competition between us. It could have become a competition…but it really wasn't and any competition that was there only motivated us to do better.
Abigail has received an early entry offer into Southern Cross University to study nursing which she intends to do next year before potentially moving on to a postgrad in medicine or midwifery. Andrew and Will are joining her at SCU also.
"Andrew's doing a Bachelor of Science because he wants to do something environmental. Will is doing sports and exercise science because he's into his football and sport," Abigail said.
"Andrew did very well and was ranked in the top 10 for every subject.
"Will got rank 1 for senior science and his rankings were also in the top 20.
"I didn't get any first in courses but I was still proud of what I did. I think I was top 20 for everything except for maybe maths."
William McCalman did admit to getting a touch nervous as the online results came in.
"I was a bit nervous as the page was loading," he said.
"I wasn't pulling my hair out though because we had already been accepted into university."
Brother Andrew was looking forward to furthering his study.
"A degree is just another stepping stone to other opportunities," Andrew said.
They all agreed that the main feeling they had after receiving their results was relief.
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