So your child will behave at Schoolies ... Yeah right
If there had been a sorting hat at my high school it would have asked two questions: Have you seen all six Star Wars films and have you ever been pashed.
Depending on which question got a “yes”, the wearer would be ushered to the geeks or the cool crowd. If they had a firm understanding of what a sorting hat actually was, they’d go direct to the geeks.
I was quick work for the hat. I’d seen every Star Wars film five times and wore a Darth Maul t-shirt to the opening of The Phantom Menace. Thankfully no need for the second question.
I took my place among the geeks. At the school formal we stood around the edges with sweaty palms while the jocks rubbed fake tan against each other on the dance floor. As soon as the party ended the geeks went home while the cool kids went to a warehouse to spill Jim Beam and vomit on their hired cravats.
But my geekiest moment came when the notorious Schoolies Week fired up after exams. As the jocks headed north for some extra curricular Phys Ed, I refused to go. With sex, drugs and underage-anything further from my agenda than a Scotsman from a charity auction, I stayed in Melbourne by myself and had my own Schoolies involving quiet reflection.
It rocked, by the way.
Seven years later I don’t regret it and with each passing Schoolies Week I find another headline to vindicate my younger Gazman-wearing self.
Last year a youth died when he fell from a balcony in Brisbane. Around the same time a young BMX rider was killed after he decided to ride from a hotel balcony into a pool on the Gold Coast and it didn’t work. A third young male died in Bali when he was electrocuted on a Schoolies trip.
Two years ago a couple of schoolies even came back self-proclaimed newlyweds after holding a beach ceremony just a day after meeting.
Sexual assaults, stomach pumps, drug hallucinations, unintended loss of virginity and too much noise are also common on Schoolies.
But not your son or daughter, right? You’ll be worried sick while they’re up there and you’ll pray they’ll be safe in the surf and in their $30-a-night bedroom, but you’ll retain faith you’ve raised them well enough not to do anything stupid. And it’s a rite of passage after all.
So let’s suppose your child is different to the pack and won’t do anything stupid like drink four beers at once through a hose. Let’s suppose they won’t buy pills from a South American named Juan with a tattoo of Wally. If they’re so not into that, why would they go?
The fact is your teenager is not going to Schoolies to behave. That’s why the official Schoolies home page has a big picture of three young men in their undergarments getting squashed on a bed by six galivanting girls.
Some quick maths reveals that’s two girls for every boy. That bed doesn’t look like the home of innocent romance and discussions about which uni course to take. It looks like your kid is going to try and have sex on that bed, or somebody is going to try and have sex with your kid.
Maybe it’ll be a 28-year-old toolie or a South American named Juan with a tattoo of Wally.
If, after 12 years of schooling they still want to get numb on pills and booze in a seaside town packed with hundreds of drunks and overtime cops, maybe your child’s education didn’t work.
And if you’re worried about your teenager going to Schoolies, you probably should be. Have a serious talk. They might regret staying home, but you might regret letting them go, even more.
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