The Waiting Game.

I got this in the mail a while ago, this postcard with ‘windows’ of opportunity, kind of like one of those Christmas Advent Calendars that you can get. Except no chocolate, and it was such a beast to try to get open, which felt kind of symbolic and frustrating. I did so much flipping about of my preferences, and I am kind of terrified that maybe I messed up the process somehow. I got a decent TER, but I had to get a new number, because somehow my deferral of my course that I discontinued because I got a rocking job so that I could confidently start a Gap year, that is now starting to come to a close. The point being, I’m not completely sure if that means they still know what kind of a TER that I got, or how long of a life my TER gets, after all that time I spent in yr 12 busting myself out on the late nights.

Right now I am in the midst of waiting to find out what I got into, & I just want to highlight the difficulty and stress of needing to move away from home, in a rural area into the city. Moving out of home is very much a ‘coming of age’ &/or a ‘right of passage’ thing where I am from. I actually find it hard to comprehend city kids, that are in their 20’s that are still living at home. In conversation, my friend who has just finished year 12 & also did a fashion TAFE course (which required him to get up at 4am in the morning every friday to drive down to Adelaide & back in one day) was talking to the other students in his class about their plans for next year.

‘So are you going to do Uni? Arr ok, so where do you think you’ll be living?’ And then they would look at him crosseyed, and say ‘Uh, where we live right now…’ And then it would click, nothing really changes for them, they don’t move (mostly) & just start further education. No stress about whether they will be drinking out of Jam jars for the first few months, while trying to afford all the text books & hunting for a job at maccas, & hoping to God that you can get youth allowance.

Its frustrating enough coming from a country town, where you generally feel forgotten about anyway by people from the city, & generally by the government., missing out on general cool things & opportunities. But its really frustrating when it doesn’t seem that the struggle isn’t forgotten, because it feels like it isn’t acknowledged. Have you ever thought about how hard it is to get a rental property at age 18? Especially after never have rented before? & with the general dislike that real estate agents have for students? Or trying to get a job in attempts to make ends meet, after having no experience?

So while I am waiting to try to find out which uni/tafe I will be at, I am trying to find somewhere to live, without much experience with budgeting for myself (thus the only experience so far with art projects & grant applications). While stressing about what would be a strategic place to live?  How much rent can I afford? What areas are safest? Where can I find parking for my car? Stressing over not having any dinner plates yet, not being able to understand bus time tables yet, being hours away from friends, family & anything familiar.

I really have trouble having any sympathy for city kids that stress over making new friends, because none of the private school kids that they know so well won’t be doing the same course of them. Meanwhile, my friends are out there, trying to figure out how to make their saved up $4,000 (cut down from $7,000 from moving expenses) last until June/July, which will be the 18 months up, which will finally class them as ‘independent’ & applicable for youth allowance (despite having already living out of home, 4 hours away, since November the previous year, as they had made enough money, their job was over as it was seasonal work of getting up at 4am, to get to work at 6am to sort oranges until 5pm, & drive home 7pm, & then to get up and do it again 6 days a week).

I asked my friend what her first year of living out of home was like:

“I was lonely, hungry and pretty much out of the loop all of the time”.

Where I am going to live? What if I don’t find somewhere to live? What if there’s nowhere to keep my car? Do I live with friends? Will we end up hating each other? What course will I get into? Will I like it? What if I don’t? How do I change my course then? Can I even do that? What if I don’t get into anything? What will I eat? Will my house get broken into? How do I get an internet connection?  Will my car get broken into? What if someone rear ends me again? How will I pay for that? What do I do if i’m brooke? Where are you supposed to park in the city? What if I don’t make any friends? What if i am lonely all the time? What if I don’t like it? What am I supposed to do then?

The stress of this just makes me want to cry, cry, cry, which is why I threw this postcard across the room after ripping it open. But doing all this has got to be better then sitting around in my home town, because it was all too scary right?


Heywire excerpt

I have been posting stuff on Heywire for about a year, in hopes that something might come about it. Because I especially think and feel all the wonderful and horrible things that come from growing up in the country. Keeping my fingers crossed, but I should have really put more effort then I did this year, my knowledge of psych tells me that I may be secretly undermining myself, so that I can self handicap. But my fingers are crossed in hopes they will detect my sincerity/good intentions and that what I have have written out, bad grammar, spelling, slightly angsty and all, will be enough.

“When i was at the field days this year, a man asked me if there were any youth left in the Riverland. I thought about this. It seems that the youth here are being pushed to get their foot out of the door so that they can get out of here…

I myself, can’t find a reason to stay beyond what i have to do, as a youth its hard to find a reason to stay. I can’t see myself growing further as a person, because this region lacks education options….

I worry that I am wasting my youth being here sometimes. The feeling is like you’re the only one left without a plan, and you’re left behind. I think  we feel pressured here sometimes, to overcome all odds, with more struggle then opportunity…

I feel like the youth here are often painted out and projected to be lazy no hopers. People that won’t finish school, won’t get a decent job, doomed to hang out about the maccas car park, smoking durries, in too tight singlet tops, and track pants cut into short shorts. Just hanging about with nowhere else to go.

We are told we are reckless. In cars, with underage drinking, with drugs, with boys in cars.

Some people see this as an addiction to destruction.
I see kids trying to self medicate boredom…

Just being here, being a young person living here, being told that you’re going to get stuck here, can make you feel like a loser sometimes. You can’t help but feel a bit tragic when the Berri BP is considered to be one half of the Saturday nightlife here.

Everyone just seems to be waiting for that moment of liberation, when they can get out.”

– from a blog that I wrote called ‘Teenage Wasteland’ published very recently on Heywire

My preferences

Uni applications have been frustrating and scary, I think maybe they try to make the websites hard to understand, so that they can weed out the weak.

In terms of trying to make plans for the future, it makes me incredibly anxious, catcher in the rye, uncertain and all that jazz. Some of it has to deal with the fact that there has been a major eff-up with youth allowance, and being a  rural student/youth. (Thanks alot Gilly).

Read more about my mutual feelings from this kid Paddy/Lamps, as a i feel that we are birds of a feather & two people sitting in the same boat.

‘Youth Allowance – An open letter to Julia Gillard’
‘Ramblings of an Angry Gap year student’.

How I feel about the future in general, can be summed up in this excerpt from John Green’s Papertowns:

“Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for plannning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future–you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.”

But this i guess is now becoming something like my mission statement, as I have published this on deviant/heywire/etc now:

I just want to put together a group of bandits, and we can all be merry men, and we will all live just down the street from each other, we’ll build forts where we can all hide when we really need to, and we’ll have partys where all the cool kids come to die, and we’ll steal from the rich and give to the poets, we’ll all donate blood and kisses to those that need it, and we’ll sleep together in a real pile.

11 Months ago, how i felt about youth allowance

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.”