Having been there and back, Dana Sherwood shares her Schoolies experience.

I am a Schoolies survivor.

Having graduated this time, one year ago, I have experienced first-hand the hype that surrounds Schoolies’ Week.

My friends and I always knew we would do the Gold Coast scene. We’d had it planned from the get-go and our excitement began in early 2011 when bookings were first released. On reflection, I can safely say I had a fantastic week, and a large part of this was due to the advice my parents and I received prior.

For school leavers:

• Find a buddy: numerous school talks explain the importance of this buddy system and for good reason. Stay with someone in your room who you know will stick by you and has similar morals and beliefs as you;

• Don’t set your expectations too high: you can focus too hard on having a good time during the week and forget to actually have fun. Relax and enjoy it, after all – you only schoolies once!

• Allow for plenty of travel time, the highway can get a little hectic on the ride in.

• Pack clothing for comfort as well as the beach parties, especially when the weather could storm.

Additional things to remember:

• Give your mates space during Schoolies, to avoid stepping on each others’ toes.

• Don’t fall prey to peer pressure, you don’t need to try something because everyone else is.

• Drink plenty of water! The sun, surf and partying can lead to dehydration.

The law:

Police and Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation inspectors can issue on-the-spot fines for underage drinking or possession of liquor in a public place, even if you’re holding a drink for your friend who is over 18: $247

In Queensland, 17-year-olds are classed as adult offenders of drug related offenses, including possessing or supplying.

Don’t fake it! It’s illegal to use someone else’s ID or make a fake ID with fines ranging from $330 to $660.

Travelling overseas?

If you’re going to Bali or any other overseas destination, make sure you understand the law and always consider the health risks you face while travelling.