Queen Charlotte College final-year students are eager to be done with exams and move on with their future in Picton and further afield.
They are like almost 40,000 candidates throughout the country sitting NCEA level 3 exams this year, with 10,000 of them also sitting scholarship exams.
The first paper - scholarship drama - was this morning.
Younger students are also sitting exams during the next three weeks, with NCEA level 1 English on Monday. Almost 64,000 students are sitting level 1 exams this year, and 56,011 sitting level 2 papers.
Queen Charlotte College year 13 student Alex Skene said he was eager to get exams out of the way and move on to a career as a navy marine technician, starting in Auckland next year.
He had "made the most" of the college's aquaculture academy run in conjunction with the New Zealand Marine Farming Association, and had picked up a range of qualifications including a licence to operate a VHF radio.
He studied computing, statistics and physics along with aquaculture,and he was looking forward to his 13 weeks of basic training.
He expected to earn $38,000 a year as a trainee, with all expenses covered by the navy, and that would be bumped up to about $60,000 a year once he was qualified.
Fellow year 13 student Sondra Bunt-Muir joked that Alex could help her with a loan after she begins studying next year for a Bachelor of Arts in Te Reo and English and a Bachelor of Teaching.
She was heading for Victoria University, in Wellington, because it offered a conjoint degree programme that would allow her to be qualified as a secondary and primary teacher.
She was aware of the difficulty some teaching graduates faced getting a job, and believed this was the best way to keep her options open.
Sondra's iwi are Te Atiawa, Ngai Tahu and Ngapuhi, and she said college staff had supported Maori culture in the school by maintaining a good relationship with Waikawa Marae, offering Maori language lessons and kapa haka groups.
"I didn't really know about my Maori culture until I came to Queen Charlotte College, and I want to help other Maori in New Zealand to know their language."
College head girl Cheyenne Conroy-Mosdell said she was looking forward to the end of exams and moving on to study for a Bachelor of Arts in English and History at Canterbury University, Christchurch.
"They're subjects I liked through school, and law and psychology are just interests of mine." She won an emerging leader scholarship from the university, which pays some of her course fees and guarantees her a spot in her choice of student hall.
She was not concerned about earthquakes and hoped to become a teacher, but was also "keeping my options open".
The full NCEA exam timetable is available on the NZQA website at ncea.govt.nz
- The Marlborough Express