In wholesome news, it looks like schoolies is no where near as wild as it once was. As someone who attended schoolies and had what the young ones might call a “mid” time, I’m happy for the traditional schoolies binge-drinking culture to come to an end.
According to this report from ABC, schoolies on the Sunshine Coast are “swapping the schooners for smoothies”, reflecting a downward trend of drinking in young people. Apparently school leavers are spending more time in cafes and lying on the beach than they are binge drinking at schoolies. Good for them!
I don’t remember that much of schoolies myself. Not because I was drinking heaps, but because I had to leave halfway through to go to an audition. When I returned the two friends I’d gone with had both hooked up with guys, leaving me to adopt the role of awkward fifth wheel. Clown town.
Speaking to ABC, Red Frogs founder and director Andy Gourley said that anecdotally, he has noticed a marked downturn in binge drinking at schoolies over the past few years.
“It’s nothing like our day,” he said.
“Probably 40 to 50 per cent [of school leavers] aren’t big drinkers.”
This is fabulous news for young brains. According to the Department of Health, the brain continues to develop until around 25 years old which makes drinking particularly risky for young people, especially when drinking to excess.
Why Are Current Schoolies Drinking Less?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has caused this move away from alcohol at schoolies.
According to a 2021 study young people in Australia and other high-income countries are drinking significantly less than their parent’s generation did at their age. The study cites four main reasons for the downturn: uncertainty and worry about the future, concern about health, changes to technology and leisure, and shifting relationships with parents. These results were ascertained through a series of interviews.
Schoolies’ minimal drinking habits were reported on last year, too. In November 2021 ABC reported that emergency services said school leavers were “far more well behaved than those who came before them.”
I must say I can see where sober schoolies are coming from. If I’d just undertaken the most stressful year of my life I’d much prefer to hang out at a beach cafe, living my best life and not suffering from horrific hangxiety.
It’s a schoolies slay.