• The Official Website of the Exponent, Wisconsin's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper May 17, 2013

Spring break indulgences

Matthew Ahasay, Opinions Editor
March 7, 2013

Sun-kissed skin, 30 packs of beer and group photos on a packed beach with drinks in hand. Stories proclaiming crazy adventures, parties and conquests consolidated together after an epic three days in a beachfront city for spring break.
Panama City, South Padre Island and Daytona Beach serve as a mecca in the yearly pilgrimage of students to the sandy shores to partake in the legendary spring break parties that create ripples of envy through social media outlets across the country. Despite the obvious draw of unruly debauchery and loosened morals, spring break trips serve as nothing more than an outlet for students to make poor decisions and soak up rays.
After the break, students play the role of modern day bards spinning tales of their vacations without thought of the possible repercussions. As social media outlets become inundated with pictures and posts fit for a Vegas vacation, it is obvious you had a good time–but at what cost?
I am no saint myself, and a hearty desire for similar fun in the sun has been in my mind for the fourth year in a row as an undergraduate student, yet I have not and will not make the trip to one of these legendary locations.
While vacations have been taken and certain aspects of the spring break rite of passage have been partaken in, it is the environment and the resulting decisions that have prevented me from making the journey.
There are certain expectations and stigmas that accompany a spring break vacation, and even the strongest willed may fall victim to the peer pressure and altered decision-making that accompanies an environment conducive to lewd behavior. Every year, students who left bright-eyed and optimistic return back to campus weary and changed for life, though not always for the better.
According to a study conducted by the University of Alabama, of the over 500,000 students who partake in a spring break adventure every year, 40 percent of men and 33 percent of women report drinking throughout the entire day. Additionally, 74 percent of females reported increased sexual activity, 50 percent of which was unplanned and/or un-protected.
Sexual activity was not the only increase noted in the Alabama study. Sixty percent of students reported having a run in with the law, and 1,300 students in Panama City alone reported being arrested. In addition, 60 percent of students reported being injured, often self-inflicted.
Spring break is not all gloom and doom, and it can be a very positive experience if students choose to conduct themselves responsibly. The average student spends $1,100 a year on a well-deserved spring break vacation, and it can either be worthwhile endevour or a very expensive, detrimental experience.
In the end, your spring break is exactly what you make of it. Everyone needs a release, as spring fever begins the inevitable countdown to the end of the semester. It is entirely your choice on how successful or harmful it can be. Spring break will not last forever, but the results of the choices you make can.

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