In the age of being cancelled perhaps none hurts more than covid’s cancellation of year 12.
Sure it’s easy to wave it off as a first-world problem, but the cancelled carnivals, graduations, sports, performances and formals during their final year of school have now hit year 12s two years in a row which is impacting on their mental health and school work.
It’s these moments of celebratory togetherness where HSC students find solidarity and comradery in moving through an already intense year. Like rites of passages, these events honourably close chapters and help to propel young people into their next chapter of independent adulthood.
“For a year that’s supposed to be the best year of your life so far it has sucked,” an 18-year-old female from Victoria told us.
“Everything that was meant to be special has gone. Athletics day, teacher vs. year 12 sport matches, formal, year 12 brekkie, probably muck up day.
“It feels like all this stress and we don’t even get the positives or fun things that are meant to come along with this year. It all feels worthless.”
Showing their importance our Coronavirus & The Class of 2020 report found that two thirds (66%) of year 12 students said missing out on these school events had negatively impacted their school work. The reason, as the previous year 12 student said, is because they get all the bad without much of the good.
There’s no joyful replenishment between stressful studies. It’s work, then more work, followed by some more work, without the fun stress relievers spliced throughout. It’s like all the tension in a song with no relief. Similarly year 12s are tense waiting for a release. As a result, motivation can take a hit.
“With all big school events being cancelled, changed or postponed it has made the year very difficult as we don’t have anything to look forward to or to strive for,” an 18-year-old female from South Australia said.
“I know this has put a strain on people, myself included, because I feel like we have really lucked out. I am less motivated with my studies which worries me about next year, and therefore my entire future.”
On top of this, three-quarters (78%) of students said that cancelled school events negatively impacted their mental health.
“All school events I have spent the past six years looking forward to have been cancelled including sport and recreational carnivals and formal festivities,” an 18-year old male from NSW said.
“In retrospect the joy of year 12 has been made redundant and it seems as if many adults that are unaffected also remain unaware of the emotional impact of these events’ absence.”
Yes they will be a resilient bunch, but we should validate these year 12s loss too.
Fingers crossed the class of 2021 will get the send off they deserve.