Be responsible during Spring Break

William T. Robinson, Jr.

During the month of March, colleges and public schools (Pre-K-12) have been involved in a much-needed academic break or recess referred to as Spring Break. This break may be anywhere  from  a  week  to  two  weeks,  but it  is  a much  sought  out  and anticipated  event. It  can  be more  time to  sleep  late and  play  with video games  for  some  high schoolers, or  planned  fun in the  sun  in  a  tropical   location   laden  with   college students for those in college. The mantra is: ‘It’s on.’ While a  few  students  may   take this time to   catch  up on  some  academic  endeavors, for the majority of  participants,  anything  resembling  a  book  is  off limits  and  taboo. Many parents plan out of  town family  outings  with their  children  or  use  this  time to bond  by engaging in family  orientated   activities in  the city.

Literally speaking, Spring Break is a time for students (especially college students) to exhale. Many college  students  are unapologetic   in  their  quest   to  let  their hair  down  and take  a  stroll  on  the  wild  side.  No one  wants to rain on their  parade, because  we  older adults  can  remember when we   were young  and  dumb. I only hope that most of the young college students of today are smarter than we were. Even with the legal  age  for  drinking  being  21 in most  states,  young  college  students  often  find a way  to  partake of  alcoholic  beverages.  We all  know that  excessive drinking (binging) is  popular  and encouraged in  many  venues  college  students  frequent . Often  this  practice leads to  promiscuous  behaviors  that may result in  rapes,  pregnancies,  STDs,  car  accidents,  fights,  and  even  death. Although  young  people may  feel  getting  extremely  intoxicated  is fun , in  reality for  many  it is the  beginning of a nightmare  with  far  reaching  horrific  consequences.

Spring  Break  is  a time  when many  parents are nervous and may spend  many sleepless  nights   praying  and  hoping  their  children are safe and  with  responsible friends.  As parents, we want our  children to  have  fun—but to  also make  responsible  choices  that will  keep them out of  harm’s  way.   Many parents  ask themselves, “Will  my  child  be  around  a  lot  of  drinking  and  sexual  activity? Probably so, but  this  is  where  some of your lectures  and discussions may  play out. Many of  our  children  will  adhere  to the voice in their   heads  warning them  of  the consequences  of their  choices.   However for the many parents on  pins and needles, I have  found that many students choosing to drink have  a  designated driver  or  a sober  rational person who keeps everything  in check and makes sure the  group  makes it  back to their destinations unscathed. Perhaps the stories of  individuals  coming  up missing  during  vacations  or  trips  with  friends  have  made  an  indelible  mark in  the minds  of some of our  children.

I encourage parents to support their college children in their decisions to venture out with responsible friends—but to also have a discussion prior to Spring Break offering them advice about using common sense in their decisions. It is always good for parents to know who their children’s friends are, especially the ones who are traveling companions. Have your child call you daily while he or she is on Spring Break and let them know you are not trying to be nosey, but just want to know they are safe and alright. Our children need to know the world is not always a caring and receptive place and it pays to be careful.

My advice to groups of students excited about partaking in the festivities of Spring Break is to seriously talk out your expectations and plans with your traveling companions and make sure that you have each other’s back. Don’t travel with someone who is chronically irresponsible and you know can’t be trusted. You don’t need that kind of liability when you are out of town to have good safe fun. Have fun during Spring Break but be safe. College students: Enjoy yourselves and come back relaxed, refreshed, and ready to continue your academic endeavors.