Whether they're taking a gap year to explore the backyard or picking up fulltime work to support the family - Covid-19 has created a rocky pathway for some local school leavers.
Anxiety levels are on the up for some but the next generation entering the workforce is "resilient", "optimistic" and always knows how to "make it work".
For some of the city's youth, Covid-19 lockdown was a time to stop, reflect and decide what they want their future to look like, even in a time when that very future is more uncertain than ever.
Year 13 Western Heights High School students Marisa Whittle, Sean Johnston and Caitlin Munro had plans for the future rocked by the pandemic, however, were staying "positive" and "optimistic" regardless.
Whittle had lifelong plans of working in South America after school but says she switched her plans to go to Otago University and study linguistics instead.
"It's a bit gutting, but it's something we just had to deal with. I still hope to travel while I'm at university and afterward too."
Johnston was going to Massey University to study Aviation Management, something he had always been interested in but was worried about as the industry that had been badly hit in the pandemic.
He said he had been assured the industry would make an almost certain comeback but it did have him questioning his dream for a time.
Meanwhile, Munro had picked up a new major over lockdown in global studies as the pandemic had given her a new interest in the subject.
She said although it had been a rough year, it had taught many in the year group that they needed to take all opportunities they could as they could be taken away just as fast as given.
There was collective concern about what their first year of university may look like after hearing from first-year students this year studying online and being forced to move home.
"We just have to remain optimistic and positive," Munro said.
Year 13 Rotorua Girls' High School students Manaia Wharekura and Khobi Paretoe both had big plans for 2021 and Covid-19 lockdown had been a positive for the pair in choosing their career paths.
Wharekura planned to head to Tauranga's Toi Ohomai Campus to study quantity surveying, she said.
Her plan was to commute from her home in Rotorua, which she said was partly down to wanting to save costs as a result of Covid-19 but also avoid getting lumped with a student loan.
Lockdown had been good for Wharekura as she said it was a chance for her to really stop and think about what she wanted to do.
She was slightly concerned about job security in a post-Covid world but said she would always "make it work".
Paretoe was making the move to Auckland University to study physiology as she wanted to combine her "passion for sport" with a career.
She said the thought of moving to a big city was "scary" and anxiety did loom in terms of what the future may look like but otherwise she was feeling okay.
Paretoe said a number of her peers were opting to take gap years to save money before making any big decisions, while others were going straight into fulltime work to feel secure.
"We are all quite independent. It isn't so bad."
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said there were "high levels of anxiety" among Year 13 students as they tried to work out which path to take next year.
He said those looking at careers in the tourism or hospitality sectors were particularly hard hit as they had no idea "what the future holds" in those areas.
Interestingly, with gap years and OEs no longer available, combined with the new free fees in the trades scheme, Walsh told the Rotorua Daily Post he had seen an increase in students interested in heading down the apprenticeship track.
He said that was a "real positive" for a sector that needed more people and this was a direct result of Covid-19 in his opinion.
Some students had taken up more part-time hours at supermarkets and fast-food outlets to help support their families in these hard times, he said.
He said some families had parents who had lost jobs so the children were taking on extra work to supplement this and planned to continue in these jobs fulltime next year to continue to help.
Western Heights High School's career adviser Jody Chesterman said students were "resilient" and "adaptable" and a lot of the time adults "worry for them".
She said the world was continually changing and the young people of today had "flexibility" and would change and work with it.
Things such as asset ownership that previous generations had been set on were less of a priority for them, she said.
University enrolment numbers at her school had remained similar but she said she had seen an increase in students choosing to go into fulltime work to support their families in this hard time.
Meanwhile, other students were choosing to take gap years to travel and work around their own country, she said.
"I think it's always a good idea to see your own country first. It will help them build life skills and keep money in our local economy too."
Rotorua Girls' High School principal Sarah Davis said school leavers were under "a bit of pressure" when it came to deciding their next steps at such an uncertain time.
She said the impact of the "strange year" had been severe on many, especially in terms of financial implications.
"We are doing everything we can to support them and ensure they don't give up on their dreams."
She had seen a spike in interest in the armed services as a place with job security.
However, she had been pleasantly surprised to find that more students had stayed in school than in previous years.