Spring Breaking The Stereotype

The Easterner

By Nicole Ruse, Copy Editor

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When students on college campuses hear about spring break, they tend to hear a culture of expectations: visiting sun-filled beaches, laying in the warm sand, wearing the tiniest bikini a female college freshman can find and college frat boys ogling them.

Are spring breaks all they are hyped up to be? Not on Eastern’s campus, it seems.

Many studies are describing how the media is contributing to the college student’s idea of how a spring break vacation should be done. They include alcohol, drugs, blacking out, unprotected sex and a week full of regrets. Turn on the latest movie release titled “Spring Breakers,” and the culture is easily portrayed..

Media coverage is feeding into the popular idea that college students are reaching new levels of self-indulgence and risky behavior during spring break excursions, according to research on Science Daily, a research news site.

The media influences students consistently through TV and ads during the months of March and April to dwell into the spring break culture by spending their college savings, or in some cases their parents money, on extravagant trips to unforeseen beaches or different states. College students see this as a second Christmas getaway, yet saving their money for future classes and summer seems like the best option.

The researchers concluded that scholars are divided on whether college students increase extreme behaviors during spring break. In addition, activities at most vacation destinations may not differ significantly from typical weekend behavior on college campuses, such as going to house parties or even visiting family.

According to Nuno Ribeiro, a researcher on the subject who focused his doctoral work on spring break culture, while some studies show substance abuse and promiscuity increase during spring break vacations, other reports prove there is minimal change between behaviors on spring break and on college campuses.

Cody Brockman, a senior at EWU, plans on relaxing at home over the break. He is going to hang out with friends and play some sports.

“I know we’ll drink because that’s all we ever do,” Brockman said, laughing. “We’re terrible people.”

Since the surveys were self-reporting, the student’s perception of their behavior over spring break vacations could have been skewed. Studies that focus on specific party spots may also over-emphasize the amount of self-indulgence, according to the researchers. Ribeiro said that a lot of research on the spring break media-produced culture ignores alternative trips such as mission work and study-abroad programs.

The experiences students have on spring break also vary throughout the years. Risky behaviors seem to peak for college freshman as they experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex. It tends to then decrease as students find their limits in future years.

According to the research, however, the behaviors show a significant rise in the last year of school, which Ribeiro calls “the last hurrah effect.”

With the amount of pressure the media portrays to college students to go all out for their spring break vacation, many of them just do not care. I know I certainly don’t.

Brockman claims he feels no pressure in having a fun spring break.

“I think fun is just what you make of it,” said Brockman. “Other people can’t tell you what’s fun. You’ve just got to live your life.”
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