LIFE AFTER SCHOOL
S CHOOL leavers are encouraged to keep their finances in check and hold tight to their dreams if they are to succeed in the next step of their career journey. Meanwhile, those still at school are encouraged to find part-time work to ease their transition to life after Year 12.
Steve Clifford, chief executive of Doxa, a not-for-profit organisation for disadvantaged children, says the stress release that comes with finishing school is often quickly replaced by new anxieties about adjusting to work or tertiary study.
“This period (of leaving school) is often stressful for many young people and can become a roller-coaster of emotions,” Clifford says. “School is such a supportive environment but, when you come out of that, it can be quite challenging.
“It’s harder these days. There’s a lot of pressure to get into that university course or to go out and get a job – but it’s not always that easy.”
Heart Sparks life coach Johanna Parker says school leavers often report a lack of motivation as they struggle with their new circumstances, but what they really lack is commitment.
“Being committed is a skill that can be learned,” she says. “It’s about continuing to show up when things feel hard and motivation is waning, especially (if) you are being turned down for jobs or further study.”
Finance Academy Australia spokesman Chinmay Ananda says finishing school brings a sense of freedom and independence, but can also be a struggle with personal finances.
Ananda suggests spending no more than 45 per cent of a salary on living expenses such as rent, bills, travel and food and no more than 15 per cent on clothes, entertainment and holidays.
Clifford says securing part-time work while still at school can help minimise the adjustment to life after Year 12.
“If you get work experience in your high school years, you can build up some of those skills that will help you outside of school – things like turning up on time,” he says.
“Having a job (while still at school) can build up your self-confidence so you can deal with the challenges after school, whether you are at uni or going straight into work or whatever it might be.”
Shelley Fenech, 22, says it took time to transition into university but perseverance paid off.
“At high school, they really want you to do well but at university it can feel like your lecturers don’t care,” says the 22-year-old, who now works as a sales and marketing assistant at Anecdote.
“It is hard to stay motivated. I found going to the (university) library was a good strategy for me to get work done. When I was (studying at home) it was too easy to be distracted.”
CULTURE SHOCK: Shelley Fenech says it may take a while to adjust to university life, where it can be hard to stay motivated.