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When you’re in school, things can feel pretty full-on.

There’s exams, assignments and peer pressure – and that’s just skimming the surface.

But now that you’re out of school – things may be feeling just as challenging – if not more so.

You may be finding a bunch of new challenges to navigate that you didn’t have to worry about in the classroom; but don’t worry, we’ve got some advice to help you get through life after school…

Image of girl thinking deeply with the words 'Me trying to figure out if i can afford to go out tonight'

Paying for stuff

Regardless of what you decide to do in your life after school, it’s a safe bet to say that money is high on your list of things to manage.

Luckily there’s a number of supports available to help you get through.

Take a look at the Queensland Government’s Study Assist guide – it includes a number of income support programs like:

  • Austudy
  • Youth Allowance
  • ABSTUDY (for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students)

Payments for these programs are made through Centrelink.

And it doesn’t stop there. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for other supports to help you navigate your first steps in the ‘real world’, these include:

Working out ‘what comes next?’

When you are in school, you have a schedule of classes, and a set number of hours to be on school grounds. That routine can get pretty comfortable after a while.

When you’re out of school, it’s up to you to make the most of your time, and that can be daunting if you’re not sure what you want to do, or how you want to fill that time.

A lot of school-leavers experience moments where they question their purpose and whether they’ve chosen the right pathway in life.

Image of a dog in a toy car with the words 'keep driving forward, even if the road ahead isn't clear'

The important thing is to keep the momentum going.

If you are taking a gap year, use this time to explore your identity. Work out what you like and what you don’t like, and if you haven’t already mapped out a plan for what comes next, start having a think about what career aligns with you and your interests.

On the other hand, you may have already gone into study or full time work and you may be feeling a little lost. It can throw you off balance when what you’re doing after school doesn’t live up to your expectations, but remember you’re still young and there’s many paths that weave in different directions – the important thing is to keep moving forward!

Man staring at dog with the words 'me and my friends basically identical'

Finding your tribe

When you were in school, you likely had a group of friends that you saw on a daily basis. Now that you’re outside of school, you may not be seeing those friends so regularly anymore.

You may be feeling a little lonely or out of place in new environments where you don’t know your peers.

If that’s you, and you’re wondering how to make new connections, look for others that align with your personality, they will likely be the best fit.

Alternatively, you may find that you’ll make new friends based on convenience or circumstance. By this, we mean the people that you are grouped with either at work or in a group assignment at uni. By working closely with others, you’ll find each other’s walls coming down, and new friendships being made – just give it some time!

Juggling things

Now that you’re out of school you may be finding that your work-life schedule has gotten a little hectic.

Juggling study, work, family, friends – it’s hard to get it all done.

Remember, these are your initial steps out into ‘the real world’ – it’s okay to feel a little uncertain on your feet.

Man with a helmet on with juggling pins in front of him, with the words 'i go a little crazy when i start juggling things'

If you’re finding that you ever need extra support, know that it’s available when you need it. Get started by taking a look at our support page.

The important thing is to prioritize your time. Create a schedule of your week or your month and firstly identify any exam/assignment deadlines and plot out when you have work. If there’s any key events, chuck those in as well. Any other time should be divided between catching up with friends, family and most importantly, making time for yourself.

If you're struggling and don't know where to start... visit our get support page