5 Ways To Have A More Meaningful Schoolies Experience
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
There's more to Schoolies than the Goldy.
You’ve worked your butt off at high school for over 13 years, and you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Graduation. No doubt convo amongst you and your mates has turned to after-school study or work plans, formals, summer jobs, and of course, what everyone plans to do for Schoolies to celebrate surviving your exams.
If you haven’t been feeling inspired by the ideas being thrown around in the group chat lately (Gold Coast? Byron? Yawn) you’re definitely not alone.
Countless studies and surveys have been finding that Generation Z - or peeps born between 1994 and 2001 - are driven more by purpose, passion, and impact than other generations before them. That means people like you are looking for ways to make a positive difference to world around them, and tend to look for experiences and jobs where they feel like they’re contributing to a better world for everyone, rather than just chasing a higher salary or prestigious title.
It’s no surprise then that every year, more and more people are turning away from the “party week” style of Schoolies in lieu of something more adventurous, mindful and memorable. From volunteering overseas to ticking off serious bucket list items and immersing themselves in a completely new country, there are so many alternative ways to spend the summer than by partying hard for a week and coming away with a serious case of - ‘so, that’s it...?’
If you reckon you’re part of that growing group of people and want to do something a little more meaningful for your end of school celebrations, we’ve got some tips to get you started:
1. Choose your destination wisely
Fighting for space in dingy Queensland bars not really your thing? Why not grab your backpack and carve out your own experience in a tropical destination like Vietnam, Borneo, Nepal or Vanuatu? Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands offer the perfect combination of warm weather, empty palm tree lined tropical beaches, as well as opportunities to volunteer your time on community projects. Each has its own epic highlights and the locals there are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet. Dive into the culture head first, form friendships that last and create memories that you’ll find yourself going back to again and again. There’s no better way to kickstart that collection of passport stamps either...
2. Take the hassle out of planning - go all inclusive
If you think “all-inclusive” means ultra-fancy resorts and retirees lining up for their breakfast buffets, think again. These days, all-inclusive trips where your flights, accommodation and activities are booked in advance are some of the best ways to travel to places you never would have even heard about or thought to go on your own. Plus, they can be the perfect way to discover those coveted hidden travel gems people often talk so much about. It’s pretty much pain-free. Win.
Another huge plus is that an all-inclusive package Schoolies option makes your trip super easy to budget for. You pay one small deposit to secure your spot, and then pay off the rest of your trip slowly over time (including your flights!) so you won’t have to compromise too much on your lifestyle, or feel like your trip is stressing you out or sending you broke. Then when you get there, instead of worrying about money, you can focus on having a great time.
3. Travel with mates, or ditch them and go solo
Choosing your crew is perhaps even more important than choosing your destination. Many people use Schoolies as an opportunity to celebrate with their nearest and dearest, and those who’ve been by your side through thick and thin for the better part of the last 13 years. Others use the chance to break free and discover a new country with a completely new group of people, and make a whole bunch of new friends. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure your buddies are on the same page as you in terms of what they want to get out of their trip.
4. Volunteering? Make sure it's ethical
Every year, there are thousands well-meaning students who travel overseas to developing countries to take part in what they think are positive and beneficial volunteer projects. Unfortunately, not all volunteer projects are created equal. Ensure you travel with a company that has a firm policy against orphanages and whose volunteer projects are ethical and sustainable.
5. Mix work and play
Of course, a meaningful Schoolies trip doesn’t mean all work and no play. It’s time to kick back after all! School’s done and we reckon you deserve to let loose a little. Make sure you take the time to try your hand at anything and everything that comes your way - you only have one opportunity to embrace Schoolies, so don’t hold back! Wake with the sun for yoga overlooking Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, hike the Himalayas in Nepal, or dive deep into the blue lagoons of Vanuatu. Grab your Schoolies trip with both hands, and hold on tight!