With the exam period coming to an end, Schoolies week will be appearing on the horizons of many Year 12 students. After a year full of stress and studying, the opportunity to let off some steam will be welcomed by school leavers around the country.
While partying and Schoolies tend to go hand-in-hand, crossing the line when celebrating can have an unsavoury effect on your week. Take a quick look at our survival guide to ensure that you have fun while staying safe at Schoolies.
Before you go
Talk to your folks
The word Schoolies sends a nervous chill down the spine of many Australian parents. With a week of drinking on the agenda, who can blame them? Before you leave, take the time to sit down with your folks and have a chat about the week ahead. This gives both parties the opportunity to outline their expectations and set some ground rules. Make sure you provide a copy of your accommodation plans, and pass the contact details of your friends onto your parents (and vice versa) in case of any emergencies.
Pack the essentials
It’s important that you pack more than alcohol and a swimsuit for your Schoolies trip. Take essential items such as medicine, sunscreen, insect repellent and first aid items with you – you’ll never know when you might need a Bandaid! If you’re going overseas for your end of school trip, make sure that you have the correct travel documents with you.
How to survive the week ahead
When you’re busy having fun, stopping for a bite to eat can be the last thing on your mind. However, it’s important that you take pit stops along the way to boost your energy levels and keep you from getting sick. Do a big shop when your group arrives or get organised beforehand and take some frozen home-cooked meals with you.
Let’s face it – Schoolies involves some level of alcohol consumption for many attendees. While a week of partying is an exciting prospect when you’re freshly 18, it’s important to consume beverages other than alcohol during Schoolies. Try to give yourself days or a night off from drinking, and have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.
On that note…a hangover is a sign to take it easier
Waking up with a hangover is your body’s painful way of telling you that it couldn’t cope with the amount of alcohol you drank last night. Take the hint and give your body a rest – it’s no fun spending your Schoolies days in bed, waiting for that throbbing headache to disappear.
If you’re spending your week at hotspots like the Gold Coast or Lorne, it can be easy to get lost among the crowd of fellow Schoolies. Assigning everyone in your group a buddy means that you’ll always have someone familiar with you in the event that you get separated from your friends. This is especially important on nights out to ensure no one gets left behind.
Stay in the loop
It’s imperative that your group informs each other of their whereabouts at all times. Having fun is a big part of Schoolies, but so is staying safe – keeping each other in the loop will be crucial if anyone runs into trouble.
Be careful of your surroundings
Take care when you’re out partying at night – stick to well-lit areas and listen to your gut instinct if you feel uneasy about a particular place. It’s important to be aware of not just where you are, but also who you’re with. Don’t let any unfamiliar people into your accommodation and keep an eye out for ‘Toolies’, the older adults who linger around popular Schoolies sites.
Remember that alcohol can do funny things
Drinking can lower your inhibitions, reduce your reflexes and lead to out-of-character behaviour. This places you in danger of illness or injury, so stay in secure areas and keep away from alcohol-fuelled violence when you’re drinking. Remember that we live in a world dominated by social media, so think carefully before you let someone take a photo or video of you. This rule also applies the other way – don’t post pictures or footage of someone without their permission for your own entertainment.
Keep your eyes on your drink
Drink-spiking is rampant during Schoolies. Make sure that you never leave your glass unattended and don’t accept drinks from random people. Having someone offer you a drink is flattering and often done with good intentions, but you don’t know for certain that someone may have spiked the beverage for a stupid joke or more malicious reasons.
Don’t cross your line
Schoolies provides Year 12 students with an opportunity to unwind after an action-packed year. However, you don’t have to treat it like a week-long party if you don’t want to. Set your own boundaries and don’t feel that you have to cross them to do what everyone else is doing.
Look after one another
It can be easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of Schoolies that you forget to be nice to one another. Keep in mind that your fellow Schoolies are trying to have a good time as well – don’t let your quest for fun spoil their week. Give your friends some space if they need it, check on those who look in strife and respect the people who are there to help you.
Whether you’re in need of help or just want some pancakes for breakfast (thanks, Red Frogs!), take note of these important numbers during your Schoolies trip:
Red Frogs: 1300 557 123
Drug Arm: 1300 656 800