Schoolies survival guide

Schoolies (or leavers if you're in WA) is a great time to kick back and celebrate the end of school. While you're having fun and partying, it's important that you look after yourself and your friends. If you're feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind there are people you can talk to and places you can go to seek help.

This might help if:

  • You're apprehensive about going to Schoolies
  • You want to be well prepared for the holiday
  • You want some tips on safer partying
people on beach relaxing

General safety

Regardless of whether or not you're drinking or taking drugs, being in an unfamiliar environment and crowds of people means that it's important to take a few extra precautions to make sure you and your friends stay safe and can concentrate on having a good time.

  • Always walk to and from the main area in groups.
  • If your hotel is in a high access area (usually around 100 metre radius around the main party area) try and keep your doors locked if no one is inside the room. If not, you could find total strangers wondering into your room because the doors were unlocked.
  • Don't swim at the beach at night, even if it's a well-lit area near the main area. Security and police will yank you out of the water immediately, so don't make an arse of yourself.
  • Beware of those people who aren’t school leavers and just want to take advantage of slightly drunk teens.

Partying safely

It's party time, which probably means you or someone you know will be drinking or taking drugs. In order to keep yourself and your friends safe:

  • Don't drink/take drugs and drive, and don't get into a car with a driver who has been drinking or taking drugs, even if you only need to go a short distance.
  • Avoid mixing drugs and alcohol.
  • Don't leave your drink unattended; someone could add something to it while you're away
  • If you are on medication, read the instructions to make sure it is safe to have alcohol or other drugs with the medication. Speak to a doctor if you're not sure.
  • Don't wander off alone, particularly if you're in an unfamiliar place.
  • Avoid going off with people you are not friends with, particularly when you have had a few drinks.
  • Avoid swimming after drinking or taking drugs.

Under pressure to drink or take drugs?

When friends or the group you are with are drinking or taking drugs, you might feel pressured to drink more than you feel comfortable with or take the same drug as them. You are the only one who knows your limits. Some ideas to help you stop drinking or taking drugs discreetly include:

  • Avoid drinking in rounds.
  • Order water at the same time.
  • Leave your last drink full.
  • Drink mixers rather than straight spirits.
  • Move away from the drinkers or people doing drugs by going to dance or having a game of pool.
  • It is OK not to do drugs or drink. You have your reasons for not wanting to drink or take drugs, so try and be firm and stick by them.

Check out some other low risk drinking strategies. 

Helping a friend affected by drugs or alcohol 

If a friend has had too much to drink, or is affected by drugs there are a number of things you can do to make sure they are safe. Check out how to help a drunk friend.  As a guide, it is a good idea to treat someone as you would like to be treated if you were in the same position. Find out more about what to do in an emergency.

Having sex

Schoolies is a time when you might be thinking about having sex. Here are some tips to make sure you enjoy yourself:

  • Make sure you carry condoms on you.
  • Only agree to sex if it's going to be safe sex (i.e. with a condom). Unprotected sex puts you at risk of getting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).
  • Don't agree to having sex if you don't want it. It's your right to say no or change your mind – it must be consensual.
  • Drugs and alcohol can affect your judgement and prevent you from thinking clearly.

Feeling anxious or overwhelmed

For most people Schoolies can be an emotional time, and you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed. There are some tips to cope:

  • Make sure you tell your friends how you're feeling and look out for your friends. There's a good chance they're feeling the same way.
  • Stay in touch with your supports back home.
  • Get some headspace by going for a walk or swim away from the crowds.
  • Try and eat healthy (lots of fruit and vegies) - it's a bit of a cliché, but looking after your body really does help you feel better.

If you need to speak to someone anonymously, ring Lifeline (13 11 14) or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 24 August, 2015
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