Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring break

Spring has well and truly sprung here in central Arkansas. The plum trees are in full bloom, the clover has all flowered, and yesterday on my walk home from the office I saw a monarch butterfly fluttering around the student center commons.

Spring break, which began this afternoon for my students, is one of those collegiate traditions in which I never fully partook. My parents would never have paid for me to go on a beach vacation with a bunch of other kids -- it never would have occurred to me to ask. I always just went home for spring break. (Other collegiate traditions that passed me by: frat parties, all-nighters, tailgating.)

And having seen what we've all seen now on MTV and The Real Cancun and Ocean Force, I can't imagine a situation where I'd let a child of mine go to a spring break location, much less buy a plane ticket and pay the hotel bills. Every time I see images of spring break, I wonder how this ends up happening. Who are these parents who indulge their children's demands for passports to wild parties, binge drinking, and rampant hookups?

But I freely admit that my upbringing was sheltered, and that my notions may therefore be a bit prudish. It's up to you to correct me, dear reader. What was your experience of the collegiate spring break, and what's your impression of the reality, then and now, for most breakers?

9 comments:

Paul C. said...

I went away to school and didn't have a car, so breaks between quarters were practically the only chance I got to visit my family for any extended period of time. So I too "missed out" on the drunken offshore shenanigans in which so many of my peers allegedly partook. Like you, that wasn't my scene, and neither were the parties and the like. After all, there was always a movie I needed to see. I did take part in some all-nighters, but strictly in the cramming-for-finals sense.

dullest_star said...

I, too, have "missed out" on the wild and drunken spring break beach bashes. Although, I don't really consider it missing out. I've never wanted to go. The thought of getting ridiculously drunk with hundreds or thousands of other uninhibited college students isn't appealing. On any level. That extends to frat-parties - of which, I have attended one and there was no alcohol involved for me. I also didn't stay longer than 30 minutes. So much for the partying. All-nighters, however, are experienced at least once a semester, if not more. And, just like Paul C. are limited to studying. Fun, no?

(This is Jenny T. - hi Donna!)

Eric Grubbs said...

No drunken rampages on the beach for me. I've never been compelled to have that kind of "fun." Usually I spent the week with my parents and hung out with friends. One spring break in high school was spent with my family and relatives in Selma, Alabama. Yeah . . . . .

Adam Villani said...

Once in college a bus of us went down to San Felipe on the coast of Baja California, but that was basically a relaxing camping trip, not a drunken orgy. We did get some fireworks in town.

About five years ago my wife and I visited Rosarito Beach in Baja without realizing that it was Spring Break. The bus on the way down was full of obnoxious fraternity types drinking Coronas and telling tales of drunken revelry. In town it was mostly fairly quiet, but there were a handful of large bars, including one that was trying to get participants for a wet t-shirt contest. We didn't have time to stick around. But it didn't seem like the endless party you see on MTV; it was mostly just a town that happened to have a few big places on the beach.

doafy said...

In California (in high school), Spring Break was spent at the beach, which was 30 minutes (tops) from your own house. The thought of really *going* somewhere was stupid, as "somewhere" was right here. Also, no one I knew really did the whole drunken-rager-on-the-beach thing. We went, we hung out, we got burnt, we went home to shower.

In college in New Orleans, our Spring Break was only four days around Easter, in order to make room for a whole week off for Mardi Gras. Again, why go somewhere else when the party is on your doorstep.

However when I taught high school in N.O., those four or five days around Easter would have kids packing up and heading to Destin with their families or one set of parents and 5 friends. The stories I heard from my students and the placid attitude of the parents that enabled this are some of the reasons I moved from New Orleans so that I wouldn't raise my children there.

Adam Villani said...

Have you ever driven the Redneck Riviera along the Florida Panhandle? From Panama City to Destin, it's like wall-to-wall souvenir shops, bars, Hooters restaurants, minigolf, etc.

Joe Francis probably spends half his time there.

stevie said...

I would visit my parents for a couple days, and then head back to Madison to get some extra hours at whatever job I was working. One year Keith and I went to New York, which was pretty fun.

Jenn said...

I visited my grandparents...thrilling, wild stuff let me tell you. (But it was a very nice tradition!)

the secret knitter said...

What a bunch of killjoys! ;)

No, that wasn't my scene during school or spring break, and I can't imagine parents endorsing it knowingly. (Then again, I'm shocked by one parent's attitude regarding his daughter's actions in American Teen.) I went home, although one year had a trip to Cleveland to see U2 and another brought a few days in Chicago.

This reminds me, though, of being in Daytona Beach right after Thanksgiving for college basketball. Walking the strip and seeing how boarded up everything was with the season past was like entering the saddest and loneliest place in the world. I suppose it was just a different side of depressing from when it's a-hoppin' in the spring.