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Breaking up with spring break
Spring break is portrayed to be one of the most epic times during students’ college years. Vacations to exotic places, meeting the love of your night or drinking the day away are some of the many images that have been created about the infamous school break.
Pop culture has idealized the seven-day period in many movies and TV shows.
In 1986, MTV launched its first “Spring Break” special in Daytona Beach, enforcing the reputation of drunken debauchery with an abundance of sexual behavior. The movie “Spring Breakers” directed by Harmony Korine, details the wild spring break of three college girls who end up being transformed into drug lords during their vacation. In “22 Jump Street,” pals Schmidt and Jenko party on a whole strip of beach with a crowd of riotous teens celebrating their spring break. Coincidentally drug lords are also involved in this movie too.
But how true are these depictions? Colleges don’t seem to have a big role, if any, when it comes to spring break. And most students are completely fine with just relaxing at home with their family to get a break from the challenges of school.
So how has spring break become transformed into a never-ending and often hazardous experience? These media representations have caused many to take spring break up to the next level and have caused many to test their limits when it comes to how risky they can make their behavior.
“If you watch every movie that has something to do with spring break, everyone’s drinking and going crazy so I feel like people think that that’s what they need to do,” sophomore psychology major Kayla Hoesly said.
“Binge drinking is probably one the most concerning of all activities that college students engage in while on spring break,” Dr. Eric Collins, addiction psychiatrist, said in an interview with Forbes. “It is always on the minds of parents who ultimately know that it goes on.”
Binge drinking for a man is consuming more than five drinks within two hours and a woman consuming over four drinks within two hours.
In a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the majority of college students binge drink, and during spring break it goes to the extreme. One study conducted by the American College of Health reports that on average, men will drink 18 drinks a day and women will drink 10 a day during spring break.
“I think a lot of kids are really stressed out during the year so they go out and they binge drink to try and relax,” sophomore biomedical science major, Amanda Norman said. “I know it’s definitely been a problem for college students.”
Binge drinking can have serious effects including alcohol poisoning, which needs immediate medical attention.
“It could be especially [dangerous] when you’re going to a place you’re not familiar with, something dangerous could happen that could put your life in jeopardy,” junior mechanical engineering major Kevin Osei said. “The rate’s very high because people could get roofied or drugged or people could slip something into your drink.”
Many deaths occur for college students because of hazardous behaviors.
“Every year, not just during spring break, thousands of kids are injured and 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.” Forbes reported.
Spring break is notorious for drunken hookups. Most people will be making their decisions while slightly intoxicated. While it’s important to practice safe sex, it goes beyond just STI’s and preventing pregnancy. Spring break also forces students to face the topic of giving sober consent and being sober enough to ask for consent.
Officials have reported an increase in sexual assault and battery during spring break, although it usually goes unreported. The County Sheriff of one of the most popular spring break destinations, Panama Beach, Florida, Major Tommy Ford said it is important to report sexual assault, even if time has passed. After an assault, it is imperative to report it quickly so the police can collect as much evidence as possible.
“Many times the victim does not know the suspect other than having met that person hours to days earlier,” Ford said in an interview with WJHG-TV. “So it’s very hard to identify who the suspect is. Also they have alcohol related issues, which impair the ability to recall the circumstances or certain key detail. You may have delayed reporting which hinders our ability to collect the appropriate evidence. So working sexual assault during this time period is a challenge.”
So while spring break can be full of fun and amazing memories, there are precautions that should be taken. One week of care free fun, doesn’t have to end in a lifetime of regret.