It used to be the rite of passage of all rites of passages.
Twelve years of schooling finally under the belt.
HSC exams conquered, formals and graduation ceremonies attended.
And what better way to celebrate than a wild week’s worth of partying in Surfers Paradise or Byron Bay?
Apparently not anymore, according to a thousand Gen Zs we surveyed for our latest poll to understand better what makes young Australians tick.
In fact, the majority (65%) of Gen Zs we interviewed disagreed that schoolies is still a ‘rite of passage’.
So how does this generation of school leavers want to mark the end of their formal education?
While 50% were still planning the iconic Gold Coast getaway and almost one in four were jetting off to Fiji or Bali, the majority of the current crop of school leavers we surveyed said they’re actually more interested in seeking ‘meaningful experiences’.
When we asked them how they preferred to make the end of their formal schooling, they said they were interested in volunteering, trekking, participating in conservation efforts or even heading straight into the workforce to get some hands-on experience before exploring tertiary post-school pathways.
“There’s been a seismic shift in the number of Gen Zs who binge drink, which is changing how they view traditional ‘rites of passage’ like schoolies,” says Year13 Co-founder and co-CEO Saxon Phipps.
The emphasis is more on meaningful experiences and well-being instead.
“This year 12 cohort were just starting year 10 when the pandemic hit, so they’ve had different experiences… this has had a major effect on their motivations and their change in perception around schoolies.
“They now want to celebrate in their own way.”
The culture shift is also being witnessed by Red Frogs Australia – who provide support and positive peer presence in schoolies’ historic alcohol-fuelled environments.
“The last four years of schoolies have been the healthiest in 25 years,” Red Frogs founder Andy Gourley told the Daily Telegraph. “(Only) around 40-50% (of Gen Zs) are big drinkers now, and it’s trending down.”
“While we are seeing a drug culture increase, a lot of that is experimental drug use – where someone who’s drunk too much takes a party drug when offered.
“So when alcohol intake drops, this drops. In fact, alcohol is a factor in 90 percent of adverse situations, like one-punch assaults, accidents or injury.”
Could this put an end to the iconic Red Frogs volunteers?