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However you celebrate it, Schoolies is a chance to celebrate the end of 6 years of high school - the end of an era.

To help you and your mates look out for each other, we’ve put together some simple tips that’ll help you have fun, and keep you safe.

Stick together

There’s going to be a lot of people about, so if you’re heading to and from venues or parties, stick with your mates. It’ll keep you in a good frame of mind, and will save you having to spend time tracking everyone down.

People are incredibly vulnerable if they’re out of it, and not everyone at Schoolies has your best interests at heart. Look after each other, and don’t ditch your mates - especially if any drugs or alcohol are involved.

Last one out? Lock it up

If you’re in a busy hotel, make sure you keep your valuables safely locked up inside the room. An open door is like an open invitation to thieves – don’t give them a chance.

Practice safe swimming

Don’t swim at the beach at night, even if it’s a well-lit area.

Make sure you avoid swimming after drinking or taking drugs too. It might sound like a good idea at the time, but there are huge risks involved (day or night).

Dodgy Toolies

Unfortunately they’re out there. But while chances are you won’t encounter them, it’s good to be aware that there are older people out there who come to Schoolies just to try and take advantage of young people (especially when alcohol is involved). Never accept drinks from strangers, and always keep an eye on who your friends are hanging out with…if it feels wrong, move on.

Drink and drugs

Let’s face it - you’re probably going to be exposed to alcohol or drugs at least once during your time at Schoolies. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Be smart, stay in control, and stick with your friends.

Never drink or do drugs and drive - and never get into a car with a driver who has been (or who you suspect has been) drinking or taking drugs, even if you aren’t going far. It’s just not worth it.

Don’t mix drugs and alcohol, and never leave your drink unattended.

If you’re on medication, read the instructions to make sure they’re safe to use with alcohol or other drugs. If you aren’t sure, speak to a doctor (they won’t tell on you).

It’s ok to say no

Everyone is different, and what feels right for some, won’t for others. So if you aren’t interested in drinking, or taking drugs, saying no is absolutely fine. In fact, these days, more and more people have figured out that you don’t actually need them to have a good time.

If you still feel pressured, say you’re allergic to alcohol, offer to be the designated driver, or simply tell everyone to clear off and mind their own damn business.

Standing up for yourself is far more admirable than caving to peer pressure in order to look cool (that’s so high school). Besides, good friends will always respect and back your decisions.

If you do still feel pressured use these little tips to help you have fun, and stay in control

  • Avoid drinking in rounds.
  • Order water with every drink.
  • Take small sips.
  • Drink mixers rather than straight spirits (or just buy a lemonade and pretend it’s got alcohol in it).
  • Go play pool, or have a dance instead.

Safe sex

Having mum scream last minute sex advice at you as you pile into the car with your mates isn’t a good look. So we’ve put together some handy tips that’ll keep you and your partner safe.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to sex is that you can always say NO. If you don’t want to, or you change your mind, it’s absolutely fine. Respect yourself, and your body - and only do it when you feel ready (if you’re out of it on any drugs or alcohol…you aren’t ready).

If someone says no to you, respect his or her decision.

Always practice safe sex (i.e. with a condom). Unprotected sex can leave you at the mercy of some pretty nasty sexually transmitted infections. A quick ‘STI’ Google search should put you off for life.

So if you are thinking about having sex, keep a couple of condoms on you, just in case. It’s better to be prepared than be caught out.

Feeling overwhelmed?

It’s not surprising. There’s a lot to take in. If you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed, there are some simple things you can do.

Firstly, it’s ok to acknowledge that you feel bad. Just because you’re supposed to be having fun, it doesn’t mean there won’t be times you feel anxious or upset.

Talk to your friends. Tell them how you’re feeling, they’ll help you out. In fact, there’s a good chance they’re feeling just as confused, so keep an eye out for each other.

Stay in touch with your supports back home. It’s ok to call your family for a chat, chances are they’ve been here before and can give you some good advice.

Walk it off. Put on some music and wander down the beach (try not to do that at night). It’ll help you clear your head and give you a nice break from everything.

If you need to speak to someone anonymously, ring Lifeline (13 11 14) or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) – they’re full of great advice, and they’ll never judge you.

Final thoughts?

Don’t do anything you that you don’t want to see on Insta tomorrow.

Trust your gut (if it feels wrong, it probably is), stick together, look out for your mates, use your judgment, and most importantly - have the time of your life.

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.