You’ve been killing yourself all semester to tackle mountains of coursework while finding time to hit the gym and develop the perfect bikini bod to show off in Cancun, the Dominican Republic, Miami Beach…or wherever Spring Break 2009 finds you. When the day finally arrives, you’re ready to leave all of your woes behind. In a tropical hotspot hundreds of miles away from your RA, your professors, and your “Good Girl” reputation, you’re ready to let loose.
But be careful, ladies, because there’s still plenty of ways that your spring break behavior can come back to haunt you.
You say: It’s not cheating if it’s in another country.
The Reality: If you’re on holiday with your best girlfriends, the liquor is flowing, and a sunkissed Adonis named Paolo pulls you onto the dancefloor, it can be easy to forget what’s-his-name back home. But still, a commitment is a commitment, and Paolo will be a distant memory by the end of the week. It’s never a good idea to lie to your partner, and you never know if he will, in fact, find out. Last year, a girl saw her personal life go viral after cheating on her boyfriend. He found out and got an acapella group to “serenade” her with the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice”…in front of 1,000 fellow students.
You say: Yes! A million miles from my parents, and in this country, I’m legal to drink!
The Reality: Sure, it’s a lot harder for your parents to keep tabs on you when you’re in a different time zone, but it’s also a lot more expensive to call them long distance if your drunk ass gets busted. Some collegiate hotspots expect masses of spring break drunkards, and are prepared to handle them accordingly. Brush up on legal conduct before you take off, and try to keep yourself aware of your surroundings. An article in USA Today, for example, has expressed that students can find themselves in jail for making an “obscene gesture,” and that students arrested on drug charges in Mexico can be held up to a year before seeing a trial. Be smart, not only for your own safety, but to prevent a listing in your school paper’s Police Blotter when you return.
You Say: What do I care? I’m never going to see these people again!
The Reality: It can be a lot easier to lower your inhibitions when you don’t have to care what others think of you. But with the rise of Youtube, Facebook albums, Collegehumor.com, and the invention of camera phones and digital cameras with video recorders, it’s hard to play it safe. Hell, Joe Francis has made a multi-billion empire off of taking advantage of drunken partygoers with his Girls Gone Wild franchise. You don’t want to come home from spring break and have people come up to you at a party a month later saying, “Do I know you?” or “Aren’t you that girl who took her top off in a Wet T-shirt contest in Puerto Vallarta and then puked all over her naked breasts?” Nooooo you do not, my friends.
You say: Whatever, I trust my friends to keep a secret
The Reality: They say that once a photo hits the web, it’s impossible to completely delete it. And the post-break Facebook albums are inevitable. But the more people that have access to your pics, the more potential for these pics to be distributed. All you have to do is right-click a photo in a Facebook album and you can save it your desktop. We’ve all heard the horror stories of people getting fired for the content of pages on social networking sites. Just like the latter warning, the internet can cause your “secrets” to spiral into the public domain. It’s one thing to get drunk and tell your friend an embarrassing story, only to retract it the next morning and say that convo never happened. It’s another to try to erase your World Wide life.
You say: I just want some no-strings-attached lovin’ to get my mind off of my GPA.
The Reality: Studies have shown that spring break correlates with an increase in sexual activity – by 74 percent! Obviously, the more sexual activity, the more chances of coming home with a spring break souvenier…in the form of herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, gonorrhea…you get the idea. Besides, sure, local heartthrob Paolo may seem exotic to you, a naive American tourist, but you’re probably not his first, and you probably won’t be his last. No matter how strongly you and your pals swear each other to secrecy, an STD (or an unwanted pregnancy, for that matter) won’t be left behind.
You say: I’m in tropical paradise! I’m totally safe!
The Reality: If the above reasons to stay safe haven’t convinced you, think about the horror stories that have developed in the past few years, such as the Natalee Holloway story. If you’re worried about your sh*t spread all over campus, how about when your tragedy becomes worldwide news, and people start making their own assumptions about your spring break behavior?
Even if you are trying to play it safe, in a foreign land, it can be more difficult to get the medical assistance you need, should something go awry. And with all the booze that’s flowing, the chances of getting seriously hurt escalate. The aforementioned USA Today article cited a young girl who fell off of a balcony and died after drinking too much; I’m sure there are countless scratches, scrapes, black eyes, and ankle sprains that haven’t made the papers – and they’re all telltale signs you had too much fun over Break when you get back to class.