This one week of freedom can be life-changing in a good way.
This one week of freedom can be life-changing in a good way. DEAN SAFFRON

SOAP BOX: Schoolies can be a life-changing experience

PLENTY of schoolies come home with nothing more than a hangover, someone else's clothes and a bunch of memories, some of which they'd rather forget.

And their parents have spent a week living in fear their kid will be the one centre-stage in news reports of underdressed and, let's say, "overstimulated" teens.

But I think it's important parents about to pack their kids off for schoolies 2015 know this week of freedom can be life-changing in a good way.

In 2007 my daughter chose to skip the Gold Coast shenanigans and head somewhere quiet with a few friends.

Her Dad and I were pleased about that - sleepy old Rainbow Beach hardly had a reputation for being a destination popular with the party set.

On that first afternoon the girls headed to the beach where they found another bunch of schoolies.

And just like a scene from a Taylor Swift song … she met a boy.

It's surprising they had never met before: Megan went to Mountain Creek State High, Phil went to Kawana State College and they knew all the same people. But she liked to study, he liked to play soccer. He lived at Wurtulla, we lived at Glenfields. Their paths had never crossed until that day on the sand.

In the years since they've established careers, set up a home in Caloundra and adopted a couple of fur babies.

This month my husband and I will watch our eldest daughter marry that boy she met on the beach on the anniversary of the day they met.

How's that for an "awwww" moment?

Congratulations Megan and Phil, we hope you have a long and happy life together.

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