The words ‘Schoolies Week’ makes a lot of people shudder and cringe, unless of course you’re a high school graduate to-be with a Schoolies trip to the Gold Coast planned. I have heard that some Canberra graduates are “Coasties” and spend their time on South Coast beaches as opposed to heading up north.
I didn’t have a Schoolies. I graduated high school in 2008 and heaps of kids in my grade were going. It felt like all they talked about for about two years before we were even in Year 12.
My best friend and I thought about going together but decided it was a waste of money because we weren’t huge party-goers (read: we rarely went out and didn’t see the value in getting smashed on cans of UDL and strawberry Vodka Cruisers) and also Schoolies was really, really expensive. Besides your flights and general expenses, accommodation cost about three or four times as much than if you were there any other time of year because of the insurance costs attached.
We both had jobs and chose to stay at home on the Central Coast (we lived 5 mins from the beach, why fly all the way to Queensland for the ocean?!) and work extra shifts – we got way more enjoyment out of buying new clothes and tickets to concerts than we would have spending a week with kids acting like clowns in Queensland.
Everyone has heard the Schoolies horror stories of binge drinking, drug taking, unprotected sex with multiple partners. A couple of years ago a 17 year old girl sadly plunged to her death from a hotel balcony.
If I was a parent with a Schoolies-keen child I would absolutely have my reservations about sending them. The images we see each year are horrible and no one would ever want their child hurt or in a dangerous situation.
But, Schoolies kids are young adults and should be old enough to make their own decisions. Of course, many don’t, and even those who are sensible in their time on the Gold Coast can still fall victim to things like drink-spiking or sexual assault.
One heartening thing to come from Schoolies week is the work done by volunteer organisation Red Frogs. About 1500 Red Frog volunteers head to Schoolies each week to assist partygoers by walking them home to ensure they have a safe journey and offering emotional support through what can be a challenging week for some. I think an organisation like this would play an extremely valuable role at Schoolies, it’s incredible that they receive so many volunteers.
Lots of kids from my school say Schoolies was the most fun they had ever had at that point in their life, others say it wasn’t as good as they expected, while a handful describe it as the worst week ever.
As for me, I don’t regret not going to Schoolies. I don’t think I missed out on anything and if I had my time over I wouldn’t choose to do anything differently.
Did you go to Schoolies? Do you have a child attending Schoolies this year?