parents

"What advice do I have for Schoolies Week? Don’t behave like a predator."

“I was asked for some advice yesterday, so here’s what I said …”

Yesterday I was in a room with 200 year 12 girls and we were talking about life – the importance of resilience, how perfection is over-rated, why it’s a good idea to come up with your own definition of what “success” looks and feels like and the value of giving back to the community.

When I opened it up to questions, one student asked me for advice about Schoolies Week. Schoolies Week which kicks off this Saturday.

Watch a segment from 7.30 about Schoolies Week below (post continues after video).

I get the appeal of Schoolies Week. I mean, my perm and I WENT to Schoolies on the Gold Coast back in 1989 (of course, I left after three days because  I hated it but that’s not the point …).

The point is, it’s perfectly understandable that students want to celebrate the formal end of their schooling life. Remember what it felt like to walk out of those gates for the last time?   And the vast majority of students go to Schoolies Week, have a great time and return home  safe and sound.

But … I was asked for some advice yesterday, so here’s what I said …

Don’t behave like a predator.  

Whether you’re male or female – it’s never okay to behave like a predator. Taking advantage of someone in a vulnerable state (whether that’s taking physical or sexual advantage of someone who’s drunk or under the influence or taking photos of someone when they are hammered or passed out) is NEVER OKAY. Consent is key.

ADVERTISEMENT
Whether you’re male or female – it’s never okay to behave like a predator.

If someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if they are asleep (or passed out), if they are in a situation where they feel threatened or there is a power imbalance – then they are unable to give their consent. If you take advantage of someone who is vulnerable you’ll either be breaking the law or behaving like someone who is, you know, MORALLY BANKRUPT. Don’t do it.

Trust your instincts.  

The world is busy and loud and it can be hard to tune into your gut instinct sometimes. But we’ve all had those moments when we’ve been introduced to someone new and every fibre of our being has been utterly creeped out.

Whether you’re at a crowded party or walking somewhere alone – if your mind starts waving big red flags at you then trust those instincts. LISTEN TO THE FLAGS!  If something doesn’t feel right – it probably isn’t. If you get a bad vibe from a person or a situation – get the hell out of there. What if you’re wrong? WHO CARES? It’s always, always better to be safe than sorry.

Understand the impact drugs and alcohol have on your judgement.  

Whether you’re male or female, when you’re drunk or under the influence of drugs, your gut instinct is at an all time low.

“When you’re drunk or under the influence of drugs, your gut instinct is at an all time low.”

When you’re drunk or high, you trust people you wouldn’t usually trust, you agree to things you wouldn’t usually agree to, you go places you wouldn’t usually go. So stick with your friends, keep an eye on each other and agree that NOBODY gets left behind.

Ask for help.  

If at any time you’re feeling overwhelmed, worried or anxious about anything – ask for help. Ring an adult you trust, call the local police station or (depending on where you are) contact a Red Frog or Schoolies Week volunteer.

Of course I want to say loads of other things to you. I want to tell you to have a glass of water between every alcoholic drink. I want to remind you to put down your phone occasionally and just be in the moment. And for the love of God – wear sunscreen, a hat and a rashie at the beach. Other than that — have the time of your life.

Are you concerned about your kids going on schoolies?

00:00 / ???