Please note, this has already been published on Heywire
My spelling and grammar is probably terrible.
But this is very significant to me.
I am currently working on my gap year, & i need to catch up with the youth allowance issues in terms of its current status.
‘Youth Allowance, its personal’
“My name is Shaylee, I have only recently turned 18 years old (yeah baby!), and am in the final stages of finishing year 12.
I literally have about 2 weeks of school left to go, and honestly, I am terrified.
For of course, the typical reasons that are very prone for the teenage adults, which can be put into a personalized equation like this:
Life = School x Homework+(EXAM REVISION) x fatigue + coffee+ hormones/philosophy + Heart ache + homesickness + feeling thirsty x Procrastination x yr 12 “pressure”/being told that you are stressed + incoming exams – Freedom + irrational parents + Coming of age x living in the moment/responsibility x too many late nights / Low immune system + Vitamin C + Fish Oil Capsules – Not have P’s plates yet x Uncertainty for the future
I’m at the peak of my youth, and hopefully the only way to go now is up.
But there is something that keeps me awake at night, something that makes me quiver before someone asks me the dreaded question:
“What do you plan to do after year 12?”
This question dries my throat. I myself have spent quite a lot of time trying to figure this out, but mostly keeping my fingers crossed.
In attempting to prepare for the future I obviously have many questions before me.
Who am I? What will I be? What are my passions? What do I want to do?
My stock standard questions, for those people that ask, but don’t really care, and are asking for pushing conversation’s sake is.
“What do you plan to do after year 12?”
‘I’m going to Uni…Cycle”
Smile and scamper off, as they contemplate my answer, then frown with confusion.
Why do I tell people this?
Because I really don’t know what’s going to happen next year.
I don’t mean in this a Holden Craufield ‘I don’t know what I want’, teenager with no direction.
Because of a brainwave of budget cuts, it is making my head spin, anxiety rise as I ask myself:
How will I get there? Will I ever get there? Is it even possible?
What is going to happen to me next year?
Other times when people from my home town have asked me this, I have told them, I think I’m going to do a gap year. After saying that, people my age look at me knowingly and nod. Anyone my parent’s age look at me and frown, they tell me,
‘I’m hesitant when kids tell me that, because sometimes they start off doing that, and never make it to university’.
This is both frustrating and true. My friend whom has started off as an apprentice bartender, and hopefully chef tells me that they guy that he works with keeps telling him that ‘once you’ve got your foot in the door, get yourself out of here and don’t look back’.
After school the Riverland becomes a kind of depressing waiting room, where everyone wants to breakout of.
When my schoolmates and people generally from the city ask me
why a gap year? Do I want to travel or something?
I tell them: Well ideally, I would like to travel, but that doesn’t seem realistic.
I’m doing a gap year to earn some $, and get some ‘life experience’ in this ‘real world’ that everyone has been lecturing me about for the past two years. Also,
I don’t think I really have a choice; I’m from the country so I can’t just cut costs and live at home when I go to Uni.
I don’t want to struggle financially in uni, I don’t want to rely on my parents because that doesn’t seem fair, I don’t want to work various jobs at crazy hours to pay bills because I’d rather focus on studying, and I don’t really want to be part of the population of Uni Students living under the poverty line. I heard that a girl got scurvy because she blew her budget and only had baked beans to eat for a month!
But most of all I need to do it, because I want to try to apply for Youth Allowance. But you know! That might not happen because of changes that apparently making it ‘fairer’ and possibly impossible for a lot of country kids to get it!
At this point I’m fuming.
Then they say:
‘Oh? What changes? I haven’t heard anything about that… Well actually I remember reading something about a relocation scholarship, you get like a few grand when you move, just because you’re from the country, how good is that!’
Ahem. * Face-palm-slap*
‘You only get it if can actually apply for Youth Allowance’…
‘Oh right… So scurvy like pirates huh? I heard you can stop that just by drinking orange juice…’
It kills me, how people have no idea of what is going on around them.
But I guess it isn’t a new thing, city kids, not understanding how various issues affect the rest of the country.
I.e. water wastage, them having half-hour showers, enter me ranting about the drought, they squint at me and look confused. Oh right, the don’t have constant reminders of what drought does, they don’t have family friends that are slowly becoming depressed, because they have had to cut down half of their vineyards, and so-and-so from down the road has been stealing water.
The school’s career councilor is demanding I put my preferences in for uni.
I bite my lip, I’m so hesitant, I don’t know what to put.
Most of the courses that I want to do are non-deferrable, and I really don’t want to say yes to something I’m not passionate about, just so that I can get a place there. Let along all the other courses you can only defer for one year, so maybe it doesn’t matter what I put down anyway.
There is just so much that I don’t know or understand.
I don’t know where I would live if I had to move out of home. I don’t know what its like to drive in city traffic in peak hour.
I don’t understand why people keep complaining that young people aren’t leaving the nest as early, meanwhile its getting harder and harder, due to prices going up, finding rentals are getting harder, and support systems like Youth Allowance is being messed around with.
I don’t understand why the Government didn’t look at rural communities, saw that they have already been suffering the effects of drought; their produce hasn’t been as much or as good. So there is a lacking of money, lots of people are selling or closing their businesses, because they can’t survive. So there are a lot of people losing jobs, the juice factory ‘Berri’ being sold is a prime example. So by losing jobs, there are more people looking for jobs, making it harder to get one. Our healthcare isn’t that great, their has been a shortage of doctors, because no one wants to work here, being a local you get sick and don’t bother to make an appointment, because by the time you got one say in about two months time, chances are you would be over it. All of which are depressing perks, and not at all beneficial for young people’s mental health.
I don’t understand how they can see communities like this, and then decide to make it harder for the youths living, here.
It’s like kicking someone in the stomach, when they have already fallen to the ground.
By picking on the class of 09, and the future classes, it is affecting these kid’s families, which in turn is a domino effect where it starts to hurt everyone.
Or maybe it just has been completely overlooked.
I don’t understand why I can see the changes were a bad idea.
And why Julia Gillard couldn’t see it when it was first proposed.
I don’t understand at all.
I am so sick of hearing people complaining about ‘kids these days’.
When they are complaining and criticizing about my generation, they are forgetting who were the people that raised it.
And personally i have a bigger problem with the baby boomers that whinge on about the kids with no respect, listening to that rap music of ours. Yo, Thanks for the gobal warming Homie! Oh yes, its nice weather we’re having, pity about the climate!
And I really don’t care to listen to people whom deny that climate change is happening, especially when the solution could be as simple as turning off your lights, so if you believe and it turns out its not real, well the worst thing that has happened is that you’ve been considerate to the environment. So quit the adult talk, open your eyes and close your mouths, because you are not the ones that will have to clean up this mess.
I can’t even think about this for too long without getting upset, weepy, angry, frustrated or restless. I’m scared for myself, I’m scared for my friends, I’m scared for my community in regards what will happen to them. I’m scared about the enormous amounts of blind-spots that the people in charge are having, as I feel that we for some time have been overlooked. As I write this I am trembling. Because I know there people that are living in towns smaller, so the effects will be even harsher.
I’m afraid of the rest of my life.”