On Skipping Spring Break

Yeah, college students pay good money for this. Never me, though. Too claustrophobic.

I’ve got just a few younger friends and acquaintances on Facebook, but they do a great job of squashing the little nostalgia I have for college. Most of them are on spring break now, which is an experience I passed on each of my six years in school.

I’m not much of a group person and as someone who’s admittedly stingy, I could never justify spending a grand in pursuit of a seven-day booze bender on some crowded beach in a cliche spring break destination where I might come away with nothing more than a sunburn, an illegitimate child and a squandered future in politics. Call me materialistic, but if I’m spending a grand, I want more than blurry memories.

That’s not so for everyone. I knew plenty of guys who seemingly went to college just for the chance to go on spring break. The first five months of their school year were spent in preparation-mode by working out, tanning and recruiting others to come with to Cancun or Mazatlan or wherever. The several months after spring break were spent retelling the same old stories which invariably involved a) tequila b) some girl from Florida or c) almost being arrested. I think most of those guys are still in college, 25-year-old juniors.

I don’t like tanning or dancing or wearing white sunglasses or even hanging out with more than a few friends at once. Spring break would’ve been my personal hell. My girlfriend and I did go to Tampa Bay for spring break in 2008. We went with another couple and stayed in a hotel we could only afford because my uncle was a manager. It was the least spring break spring break you could ask for and I would still rather refer to it as a vacation. Wide-open beach, classy hotel, no sign of a wet t-shirt contest or cameramen documenting the charades — that was a good spring break.

Now, if you sense some bitterness in my tone, you’re dead right. Whenever I see pictures or hear stories, I roll my eyes, but a part of me thinks I might have missed out on something. I’m not saying I wish I would’ve participated in the typical spring break shenanigans, but it could’ve been fun to bear witness. I’m a writer, after all. Five days in Cabo San Lucas could’ve meant a lifetime of material.

At the very least, I believe in the idea of spring break. College is an absolute grind and few people deserve a good weeklong vacation like the overburdened college student. College students are broke, no matter how many jobs they hold, so taking any opportunity to fund a week of the good life seems like a moral victory to me, even if it means pulling some extra financial aid money. Thanks, government.

This might be my job talking — I coach college students — but I would say let spring break be a motivator for long-term success. Bust your tail in school so you can someday land the job that will allow you to take real vacations to destinations a little less…horny. Vacations that look less like date-rape conventions and more like a relaxing getaway.

Be as 20 or 21 or 22 as you can be, but when you get back, please try to reimmerse yourself into civilization in the least obnoxious way possible. Be considerate of all of us jealous college grads.