Flat White

My Year 12 in lockdown

18 October 2021

5:55 PM

18 October 2021

5:55 PM

I have been toying with the frightening concept of moving to a freer Sydney.  

Melbourne is my home, always will be. But after nearly two years of on-again, off-again ‘snap’ lockdowns, Dominic Perrottet’s NSW is creating a rather inviting environment for Victorians imprisoned in ‘Danistan’. 

Reflecting on what we have gone through, it depicts something out of the dystopian trilogy ‘The Hunger Games’. Splitting and categorising people according to their worth. You can be sure Daniel Andrews would exist in the Capital. Victoria? Oh, we are district 12 for sure. 

I was 16 when lockdowns were first implemented. Now, moving into an even more uncertain 2022, I will emerge 18 going on 19. Who could have thought one man would have such a suffocating grip around our lives? More so, who in their right mind would squeeze so tightly that our state was knocked unconscious for upwards of 20 months? 

An egotistical megalomaniac, that’s who. 

One of my friends would watch his press conferences everyday. She would listen to him like a priest on a Sunday service. It gave her some kind of solitude, staring at the screen, bathing in his praises. Being a good little comrade. “Get vaccinated little kiddies, or you are worthless to society!”. My mother often explains how she would rather smash our TV than look at his face. 

As a year 12 student (and a lonely conservative) at a prominent Australian private school, we were often drowned in unsolicited health ‘advice’, which were more like ‘comply, or else’ orders. I even had a teacher repeatedly cry “sanitise [your] hands, because if you don’t it might kill my mother”.  

For some time, I was awaiting forced vaccination status to sit our exams. You couldn’t put it past a boy like Dan.  

The online debacle was one like no other. 

Once we started online, it was another story altogether. Talking about unsolicited health advice, the political indoctrination was at its peak. With no pop in classroom visits from other staff, no checks and balances existed to filter the utter Marxist rubbish which would fly out of my teacher’s mouths. But hey, I’m just an insignificant conservative woman. Who’s going to listen to me? 

The most disappointing thing about the impact on year 12 students, is the mental health response. The mental health epidemic is real and it’s here to stay. 

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “since the onset of COVID-19, there has been a substantial increase in the use of crisis and support organisations… and mental health services”. You can understand that a significant portion of these individuals are young people. From my own immediate friend/family group, I know of two people who suffered from severe mental health issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. One attempted suicide and the other died by suicide. Both under eighteen years of age. 

Where is Daniel Andrews when a child dies of suicide because of our lockdowns? They aren’t numbers he is keen on reporting, are they? 

It almost seems selfish to contemplate my own mental and emotional struggle as I reflect on these two situations. But every single person’s mental health journey is important and no less significant than another’s. In my own experience, there were good weeks and bad weeks. Some weeks the thought of staring at a screen for upwards of nine hours a day (extra-curricular and community work included) was mind-numbing. For a period over several weeks, I barely had the energy to fake a smile. I stopped all contact with friends. My contribution to class online was non-existent and for much of the year so was the motivation towards my studies. Some individuals thrive in this kind of environment. Others suffocate in it. I am the latter. 

Often during this confusing time, it is easy to forget that VCE students still suffer from their typical high school issues. Friendship problems? They most certainly don’t disappear because a pandemic rolls in. Confusion around who the hell you are? Still feeling it. Domestic issues? Some use school as an escape from a dangerous home environment. Risk-taking behaviour? Young adults are going to be more inclined to make bad decisions because they didn’t have the chance to be as carefree and stupid after being locked up for 2 years.  

After speaking to many other VCE students, in conjunction with my own experience, I can confidently say that the mental anguish we have endured will impact our generation for years to come. 

So all that being said, any recommendations for inner-city accommodation in Sydney? 

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