It feels like a punch to the face.
That’s how teens last year described schoolies being cancelled.
“I haven’t had to deal with any major problems which is beyond lucky for a Victorian,” an 18-year-old female from Victoria told us at the time.
“Though I’d be lying if I said the cancellation of schoolies didn’t feel like a real punch in the face.”
Because as we all know nothing quite compares to the excitement of finishing year 12. There’s 13 years of education to celebrate (finally) finishing and many rites of passage to look forward to: year 12 retreats, formals and finally schoolies to finish them all off with a bang.
But the impact of the pandemic means that these rites of passage could, for the second year in a row, look very different.
Prior to the pandemic, which shuttered state and international borders and triggered long-term lockdowns, year 12s from around Australia would be preparing to travel to the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Bali, Fiji and other schoolies locations to enjoy a well-deserved break and mark off a major life milestone.
But while international and most interstate travel is off the cards, school leavers hope hitting 70% and 80% double-dose vaccine targets – which state governments predict will happen late October to early November and have promised means the easing of restrictions for the fully vaccinated – could save local schoolies celebrations just in time.
So how might the coronavirus class of 2021 salvage Schoolies? We asked thousands of year 12s from the coronavirus class of 2020 last year and here’s what they said:
- 39% said they were going to hire a rental or AirBnb
- 33% said they were going on a road trip
- 28% said they would go camping
- 20% said they’d party at home
- 24% said they’d do nothing
“I planned on going to schoolies in Bali at the end of the year, but that has unfortunately been cancelled,” a 17-year-old female from NSW said.
“My friends and I are now talking about doing an Australian road trip camping or renting an Airbnb up the coast somewhere. It might even be better than schoolies!”
And in the meantime, they’ll keep finding the silver lining.
“I was booked to go on the YLEAD Cambodia schoolies alternative trip at the end of the year, something I was extremely looking forward to, but this too has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus,” a 17-year-old female from Queensland said.
“(But) my parents have always instilled in me the belief that with every negative there is a positive. The positive that comes from being a senior in 2020 and living through this pandemic is that I have learnt to be resilient and overcome disappointment.”