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Schoolies (or leavers, if you’re in WA) is the holiday period right after finishing high school. Get the most out of the fun and partying by knowing how to look after yourself and your mates.

This can help if:

  • you’re going to schoolies
  • you’ve heard horror stories about schoolies and don’t want to experience the same thing
  • you want to know how to stay safe at schoolies.
Crowd cheering at festival

General safety

Regardless of whether or not you’re drinking or taking drugs, being in an unfamiliar environment amid crowds of people means that it’s important to take a few extra precautions.

  • Always walk to and from the main area in a group.
  • If your hotel is in a busy area, keep your doors locked when no one is inside the room.
  • Don’t swim at the beach at night, even if it’s a well-lit area. Security and police will yank you out of the water immediately, so don’t make an arse of yourself.
  • Be aware of those people who aren’t school leavers and just want to take advantage of slightly drunk teens.

Partying safely

Follow these tips 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.
  • If you’re on medication, read the instructions to make sure it’s safe to use it with alcohol or other drugs. 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’re not friends with, particularly when you’ve had a few drinks.
  • Avoid swimming after drinking or taking drugs.

If you’re being pressured to take drugs or to drink, these simple tips might help:

  • Avoid drinking in rounds.
  • Order water at the same time.
  • Take only small sips of your drink, so your glass still looks full.
  • Drink mixers rather than straight spirits.
  • Move away from the drinkers or the people doing drugs by going to dance or having a game of pool.
  • It’s okay not to drink or do drugs. You have your reasons for not wanting to use substances, so try and be firm and stick by them.

Safe sex

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

  • 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 sex if you don’t want it. It’s your right to say ‘no’ or to 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. Here are some tips to help you cope:

  • Make sure you tell your friends how you’re feeling, and also look out for them. There’s a good chance they're feeling the same way as you.
  • Stay in touch with your supports back home.
  • Get some headspace by going for a walk or a swim away from the crowds (but not at night!).
  • If you need to speak to someone anonymously, ring Lifeline (13 11 14) or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

What can I do now?

  • Write down a few of your friends’ mobile numbers, in case you lose your phone and you need to call them. Keep the list with in your wallet.
  • Learn how to help a drunk friend.
  • Read about peer pressure.