We need a break. Two months of bar crawls and bong hits have taken their toll. We need a rest, a little time away to recharge and refocus.
College spring break, like freedom, is an American invention. The first occurred in 1885. Young women of the Lady St. Agnes Finishing School of New Hampshire met a group of men from Bowdon College. The coeds were holidaying at a beachfront Marriot in Ft. Lauderdale, and they became fast friends, walking, talking, doing body shots of bourbon and debating the gold standard.
The phenomenon spread. Thousands of young men and women in full-body black bathing suits flocked to sunny Florida. The new phenomenon brought new innovations. The double-shot glass, the swim-up bar, tear-away pants, and the tetanus shot were all introduced during those years.
Prohibition and the Depression brought the Winter Break Years. New Deal programs, including the National Binge Drinking Recovery Administration (NBDRA), were government attempts to restore spring break. The NBDRA put out-of-alcohol college students to work hauling kegs and repairing urinals. They also created wet T-shirt contests, and Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the first women to be hosed down.
Modern spring break is an amazing spectacle. Today we have the airplane, the credit card and bulk-pack condoms. We can travel farther, spend more and sleep less than our parents ever dreamed.
However, we don't all go to the beach. Penn students go on many different types of spring breaks. I compiled a list and summarized their highlights.
Partying, Cancun: Congratulations, you chose the cliche. Enjoy the never ending alcohol, sex and volleyball. MTV will be there, as will Girls Gone Wild. Try to get on Girls Gone Wild. Penn struggles to make the cut. Do not drink the water, but do drink the Corona. If you're going to have relations with a native, take him to your room, do not go to his village. If you have political aspirations, wear a mask at all times. U.S. Customs is no joke - leave the coke behind.
Partying, Daytona Beach: Florida? It's 2007, Mr. Breakfast Club. Did you procrastinate and miss the good deals on Jamaica? You'll regret it. Get a good fake and keep your lawyer on speed dial. It's dangerous to run drunk and naked in the United States. Cops are jumpy, hotels fear lawsuits, adults are uptight. You won't smoke as much weed. You won't have as much public sex. You will get cell service. Take a day trip Orlando. Go to EPCOT Center. Walk to the Mexican Pavilion. Cry.
Touring, Rome: You're innovative. Mom and Dad wouldn't buy Cabo, but they would buy Italy. You can get demolished on cheap wine and meet Italians. Ah, Italians. Amsterdam, the real Disneyland, is close - so close, why tell your parents you're going? Europeans don't hate us as much as they used to. You won't have to pack a maple-leaf T-shirt. Don't get arrested. It's harder to make bail with a foreign currency. Remember the exchange when buying companionship. Europeans like techno. Be alert.
Volunteering, New Orleans: You aren't going to the beach? While you're friends are funneling, you'll be tunneling, through mold. Yeah, yeah, you're going to help people. When you're working for Goldman Sachs you can remember the week you were a good person. You will rebuild houses and invest in the local economy by patronizing the (thank you, Jesus!) undestroyed French Quarter. You missed Mardi Gras by two weeks, but you'll still be able to trade for beads. When you get home, look down on your tropical vacationing friends. Question their humanitarianism.
Volunteering, Small Town, North Carolina: There are poor people all over the world. Why the hell did you choose Appalachia? You could be going to Costa Rica to feed children and drink Pina Coladas. Instead you'll rebuild double-wides the Bible Belt. If you're Jewish, prepare to be a circus attraction.
Roadtripping, USA: You can do damage in more cities if you use a car, and there are a lot of historic monuments between Philly and the Mississippi to pee on. Try to litter in every state, and remember to snap a photo of you and your arresting officers. Fun car games include 99 bottles of beer on the dashboard, 20 questions for the state Trooper, and Moon the Hell's Angels.
Everyone is doing something different next week. Wherever you're going, take it easy. Have fun, and don't do anything Johnny Knoxville wouldn't do. Spring break doesn't exist when you have a job, so enjoy this college anomaly while you still can.
When you get back, you'll have two months left. Return to Philadelphia disease- and felony-free, and ready for Spring Fling.
Alex Weinstein is a College senior from Bridgeport, W.Va. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Straight to Hell appears on Thursdays.Comments powered by Disqus
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