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Spring Break Expectation vs. Reality

By Maddie Daly | Monday, March 18, 2013


Spring break: the one week where it’s not only acceptable but expected to party on the beach for five straight days and nights and be in a state of mind completely dissociated from reality. Movies and MTV have taught us to directly connect partying, exotic beaches, bikinis and lots of red solo cups with spring break, but in my experience the majority of spring breakers only dream about this kind of vacation. So why the spring break partying stigma? What ever happened to those good, old-fashioned fifth-grade spring break trips to Disneyland or grandma’s house? Maybe I’m an exception, but I was more than happy to spend my spring break at home, cuddling with my miniature daschund, watching a minimum of five episodes of Gossip Girl on Netflix per day and eating my mom’s homemade chili and banana bread.  After hell week, aka midterms week, I craved seven straight days of relaxation and sleep, not a wild (not to mention expensive) sleepless drinking fest in a potentially dangerous foreign country.  

Now, I’m not saying I’m against beaches and partying; I love having fun and tanning on the beach as much as any other girl, probably more. But throughout my college career so far I have noticed a distinct gap between the MTV image of spring break and the actual thing. Not to say the real thing is bad, but it’s simply not what we see in movies and TV shows. Last year my friends and I succumbed to the pressure of popular culture and ventured to Clearwater, Fla., for some spring break adventures.  Expecting to sip pina coladas poolside, meet cute boys from state schools and get as tan as Amanda Bynes post-DUI, we packed our bikinis, tanning oil and hair straighteners, boarding the plane with overconfidence. Five days later we boarded the plane home with skin the color of a ripe tomato, the smell of aloe vera drenching the air, wearing yoga pants and sweatshirts, no makeup and all of our dignity. Instead of dancing on tables and flirting on the beach, we spent the week sleeping, eating, watching TV and of course tanning/burning on the beach.  It was the ultimate relaxation week, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  However, it would make a really boring show on MTV because of the lack of drinking and college shenanigans.  

If you happened to be one of those definition spring breakers, I have to say I’m impressed.  Obviously after midterms week everyone wants to let go and forget about the Econ exam they failed and the paper they wrote at 4 a.m. the morning it was due, but at the same time after all those sleepless nights, a cozy bed and a laptop full of movies accomplishes the same task without the physical exhaustion.  Just like spring is a time for rejuvenation and new beginnings, spring break is a time to look back at the first half of the semester and fix whatever you’ve been doing wrong, starting over all fresh and stress-free that Monday after.

Going on an extravagant trip makes it really hard to do this, and it will only cause more stress in the end.  Simply going home is the only way to actually rest and refuel before going back for the end of the semester where you will have even less sleep and even more to do.  Really what I’m trying to say is that spring break is anything but a break.  It’s typically a fast-paced drinking fest that completely drains all energy from your body and mind, leaving you in a zombie-like state for that first day back and crushing any hope of getting your GPA up before finals.  Being as rigorous as it is, Notre Dame should really consider an extended spring break so that we can party MTV-style for the first half and still have plenty of recovery time.  Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to go back to the good old days where St. Patrick’s Day was actually celebrated on campus instead of conveniently while everyone is gone for break.