The Culture of Spring Break 2016
by Sana Kalyanpur
The week-long spring break that occurs all over the United States has evolved from simply being a longstanding academic tradition of springtime respite at schools and universities, into a larger-than-life phenomenon of beaches and booze. The transformation of our perception of spring break into a week full of debauchery is largely a result of the media’s portrayal of this recess. Movies such as Harmony Korine’s 2013 drama Spring Breakers depict spring break purely as a week in March during which hordes of college students migrate to beaches and resorts across Florida in order to partake in total indulgence and revelry.
However, as Oscar Wilde said, life imitates art, and in this case, he could not be more right. In direct anticipation of enormous crowds of college students occupying multitudes of shore-side resorts, countless Florida authorities plan ahead during springtime. They include not only extra transportable beach jails, but also additional emergency medical staff to take care of any particular problems that may arise during this time due to excessive experimentation, a complete lack of limitations, or just plain ridiculous ideas concocted by teenage brains that want to have the best time possible before returning to campus to hit the books once again.
The pop culture portrayal of a stereotypical spring break trip to Florida may not be off-base, as many of the “Sunshine State’s” beaches do experience a bombardment of teenagers and young adults every March. Evidence of this is readily available all over social media, with countless shots of throngs of tan, bikini clad girls drinking out of pineapples surely permeating your own Instagram feed.
While it’s not hard to see why Florida beaches would be such a popular vacation destination in March, our generation’s susceptibility to what we see in the media or in pop culture is colossal, and the transformation of spring break into such a huge phenomenon filled with underage drinking, beaches, and parties is largely a money making tactic. If partying with your friends by the ocean sounds exciting, by all means, enjoy! But don’t let yourself be swayed by FOMO (or rather, a type of social angst based on the “fear of missing out” on seemingly enjoyable social interactions), and don’t be afraid to pass on the typical spring break experience per American culture. Go back home to visit your family, visit a new city, or even stay on campus if you want to. After all, even if you regret not spending your spring break digging your toes in the sand and playing beach volleyball at a resort in Miami, you can always live vicariously through your classmates’ photos.