College spring break: perception vs. reality

Cartoon by Gordon Johnson

MADI MCGUIRE | OPINION COLUMNIST | mjmcguir@butler.edu

College spring break is something that many have a very strict perception of. Here is my stereotypical perception of college spring break: it’s on a beach in Florida with hundreds of college students in the skimpiest of swimwear, drinking and partying the day away, spending a lot of money and not wanting to go back home to cold weather when it ends.

I’m going to bet that yours is not much different since pop culture adheres to that stereotype as well.

MTV Spring Break highlights only the craziest and raunchiest of spring breaks and even provides space for that to happen.

The movie “Spring Breakers” is about teen girls who travel to Florida for spring break and end up hanging out with a drug dealer and wear nothing but bikinis the whole trip (this movie scarred me for life, by the way).

The sad truth is that, yes, college spring breaks are stereotypical for some people…but what about the ones who don’t make it to the beach?

This is where reality sets in. Most students choose the cheaper route and go home for spring break or take a small, inexpensive road trip with their friends.

I won’t lie to you, I spent my freshman year spring break in Los Angeles, and I will be doing the same this year. My friends from home just happen to live in Hollywood. I had quite the fabulous and expensive trip — only because I saved money all year long to make it happen.

I got lucky having friends who live in such a cool place. So I suppose my break was and will be a stereotypical college spring break in the sense that I spent a lot of money and will be somewhere tropical and warm.

Sophomore marketing major Christa Asbury is looking to save money and relax on break, unlike me.

“I am flying to North Carolina to see my best friend from high school and her fiancé. My only big expense is my plane ticket since I am staying at her house. I just want to catch up with my friend and sit on the beach all day if it is warm enough,” Asbury said. “I think that a stereotypical spring break is partying on a beach with friends…and I will most likely not be doing that.”

Tanaka Mapondera, senior computer science major, hasn’t had many chill, relaxing breaks; he likes to go all out.

“I have had pretty stereotypical spring breaks, going to Fort Lauderdale with my friends and this year we are going to Miami. I do know that isn’t always the case though because some of my friends do the Alternative Spring Break and they love it,” Mapondera said. “I just think that when you’re from the Midwest you want to escape and go somewhere warm like Florida, but it can be pretty overrated.”

Butler provides alternative service-oriented spring breaks that are available to all students. According to the Alternative Spring Break website, “Alternative Spring Break empowers members to become active citizens through education, direct service and reflection.”

Ryan Krueger, senior computer science major, went on an alternative spring break trip to South Carolina his junior year.

“My freshman year I visited my brother in Minnesota, then had a ‘stereotypical’ break in Fort Lauderdale sophomore year… Junior year I did the alternative spring break and I loved it. Yes, we were doing a lot of work but it was still a nice break. This year I will be going to Miami,” Krueger said.

Some students, like Anthony Scaccia, a junior majoring in human movement and health sciences, want to use break as an escape from the responsibilities of school.

“Spring break is a way for me to get away from school. I don’t have to think about tests or projects while I’m away. It’s also a time for me to go back and see my friends from high school, which is fun because I obviously don’t get to see them anymore,” Scaccia said.

I was surprised to hear that many students do not go on break with their friends since I did believe in the stereotypical spring break. It goes to show how it really might only be a stereotype, not a reality (at least at Butler).

I expected that many of my friends would go somewhere warm because it just seems typical, but the majority of them are spending time at home with their families.

No matter how you spend your break, you only have four chances at the spring break of your dreams. In my opinion, you should save money or create a presentation for your parents about why they should fund your ultimate break so you can experience what you want to.

College is a time for friends and fun, and I fully support one’s decision to spend break on a beach, maybe doing a few regrettable things.

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