Opinion: Spring break is a chance to catch your breath

Cassidy Alexander

Spring break just isn’t what is used to be. Photo courtesy Twitter
Spring break just isn’t what is used to be.
Photo courtesy Twitter
Alexander
Alexander

My spring break was by all accounts uneventful. I made dinner for my family, watched Parks and Recreation with my dog and slept in every day. I didn’t have to work, I didn’t have to go to class and I didn’t have to be worried about my to-do list. I was busiest on Wednesday, when I went to the dentist and the Apple store on the same day. Although this was the busiest I was this week, those things weren’t exactly difficult to do — and that’s exactly how I wanted it.

In our minds, we think of spring break as an opportunity to let off steam. Movies like Spring Breakers and Girls Gone Wild come to mind as examples of the celebratory binge drinking, partying and mistakes spring break is notorious for.

However, most people I know didn’t plan a road trip to Panama City. Instead, they stayed in their apartments or dorms to catch up on homework or sleep, and at the most planned a day trip to see their family.

Of course, those aren’t the only two ways people could spend the week off. Some students could take a study abroad trip over the break, or fill the time with a Transformational Learning Opportunity, like Ospreys in Action. This year in particular, some students were able to cheer UNF on at a history-making basketball game.

These discrete activities may be due to a generational shift. According to a study released by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, while only 18.1% of students in 1987 spent five hours a week or less socializing with friends, that number jumped to 38.8% in 2014.

Furthermore, in 1981, 74.2% of students reported frequently or occasionally drinking beer, according to the same study. In 2014, only 33.5% reported doing the same.

While these trends may stem from the increasing amount of time people spend socializing online rather than in person, there’s no dispute that there’s a definite drop in partying and drinking among current college students. Additionally, according to the same study, the number of students planning to earn a master’s degree increased from 28.1% in 1974 to 43.6% in 2014.

It could be possible to conclude from these shifts in students’ habits that work has replaced socializing and blowing off steam as students’ top priority.

After I finish going to classes, doing my homework, completing tasks for my two jobs and performing basic functions like eating and showering, I’m ready to fall asleep wherever I stand — and I’ve yet to meet another student who doesn’t have as much or more to do than myself. So, given a week with no classes and a dramatic drop in obligations, my first goal wasn’t to hop in my car and drive off to an expensive, alcohol-soaked week.

While some people blow off steam this week like a popping balloon — with a bang — I’d rather do it like an air mattress — slowly decompressing over a span of time. Either choice is fine. Despite the portrayal of crazy spring break vacations in the media or my own account of how I spent this week, whatever you did with your week off school is fine. Just make sure you enjoyed this short and sweet amount of freedom.

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