Depending where you’re headed, Schoolies takes place from mid-November through to early December. It’s a great way to get away from your usual surroundings and celebrate the end of 13 years of schooling!
While Schoolies is a wonderful way to soak up the sunshine and party with your friends, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Understanding the risks and keeping safe is incredibly important, so we compiled this handy guide.
1. Pack the essentials
It’s important that you pack more than alcohol and a swimsuit for your trip. Here a few things to take with you when packing for Schoolies:
- Basic first-aid items: Medicine, sunscreen, insect repellent and Band-Aids are essential.
- Travel documents: If you’re going overseas, make sure you have the correct documents (we suggest printing them out as well as keeping them handy on your phone).
- Check your accommodation plans: Do you need bedding? What equipment is provided? Make sure you are bringing stuff that can help you live comfortably for a week.
2. Talk with your parents before you go
Before you leave, take the time to chat about the week ahead. Give them your accommodation details and contact numbers of others in your group. Also, be honest — it can stop your parents stressing about your safety if they know you are prepared and planning on being safe and sensible. There are many things that can go amiss at Schoolies, and it can’t hurt to reach out to your parents for advice, or even just to give them peace of mind that you’re alive and well.
3. Eat plenty and drink water
When you’re having fun with your friends, stopping for a bite to eat can be the last thing on your mind. Do a big shop when your group arrives, or if you’re organised, bring some frozen home-cooked meals with you.
A week of partying is an exciting prospect when you’ve just turned 18, but it’s important to consume beverages other than alcohol during Schoolies — your body will thank you.
4. Listen to your body
Feeling the effects of the night before? Waking up with a hangover is your body’s way of telling you that you drank too much of something (alcohol) and not enough of something else (water). Take the hint and give your body a rest and be sure to get some food into you and drink lots of water. Before going out, put some painkillers on your pillow and take them before bed — it should reduce the level of headache that you would otherwise wake up with.
5. Be smart about alcohol
Drinking lowers your inhibitions, impairs your reflexes and lead to out-of-character behaviour. 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, and ask permission from people before you post content they feature in.
Just like any place with alcohol, Schoolies is vulnerable to drink-spiking. Never leave your glass unattended and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know — especially if you didn’t see them purchase the drink. Keep your eye on your things, and be smart about what you put into your body.
6. Look out for your friends
If you’re spending your week at hotspots like the Gold Coast or Byron Bay, it can be easy to get lost among the crowds. Still to well-lit areas and never let a friend leave a bar or nightclub alone. If you feel uneasy or that something isn’t right, listen to your gut and speak up, or remove yourself from the situation (bring your friends with you).
7. Use the services on offer
Red Frogs are a volunteer group situated at the big Schoolies locations. They can cook you breakfast, give you space to talk or have a lie down, provide water and food when needed, and even drive you home safely if you get stuck.
Keep these numbers handy in case things don’t go to plan:
- Police: 000
- Red Frogs: 1300 557 123
- Drug Arm: 1300 656 800
Check out the Schoolies and Red Frogs websites for further information.