Emotions have become all the more complicated for Johanna Evans and Rosalie Lambert as they await their HSC results next week.
Having received early round offers to university, they are now waiting with bated breath to see whether they will meet the conditions to accept the offer.
To study a double degree in arts and science at the Australian National University in Canberra, 17-year-old Johanna will have to score an ATAR above 80.
But, in the unlikely event, she doesn't make the grade, she has a comfortable fall-back plan.
"Macquarie [University] offered me a place last month through the school recommendation scheme, so that was just after I did my HSC," she said.
"I am leaning towards ANU though. That's the course I really want to do. I'll have to wait until next Tuesday o find out officially if I will be."
Having finished her high school career as the Dux of The Riverina Anglican College, she is quietly confident that her ATAR will offer what she needs to get there.
Rosalie, on the other hand, is facing a stellar task in order to accept her conditional offer from the University of Sydney.
"I applied to be in the Dalyell Scholars stream, and with the school recommendation scheme, it's reduced my required ATAR from 98 to 95," the 17-year-old said.
"95 is the hope, it's my goal, but I'll be happy with a low 90s or high 80s. I used the ATAR calculator after my trials and those marks were awful. It still said I'd get about an 87, so I'm hopeful."
While early round offers continue to be released this week, Rosalie and Johanna will join the rest of their statewide cohort in awaiting the official results on Tuesday, and the official university placements later this month.
As anxiety mounts ahead of the announcements, both the graduating students are trying their hardest to keep the process in perspective.
"Logically, you know the ATAR is only going to matter for about five minutes, but we've put a lot of work into this and we want it to be good. We want the reward for our effort," Johanna said.
Ultimately though, as the next week's pressure continues to mount, both the students know that the struggle they face is primarily self-inflicted.
"The stress has come from within, there has never been anything put on me by my family or my teachers," Rosalie said.
While the academic burn-out might still be a reality for the students following the HSC, they are both confident that by the time the new university semester rolls around, they will be prepared to step back into that world.
"I'm someone who loves learning. School was fun for me, I enjoyed it. I did consider starting [university] in semester two, but I just think it'll be better to get straight into it," Johanna said.
For Rosalie, the transition to university offers a complete change of pace to her life at school.
"I haven't fully enjoyed school, I liked aspects of it. But that's why I'm looking forward to uni, because it's more likely to be something I'm thoroughly passionate about studying and doing," Rosalie said.