Top Ten Tips for a Safe Spring Break
Your last midterm is done and the tantalizing smell of one full week of exam-less freedom lingers on campus. The excitement is palpable. Finally, it is spring break season. The trunk is loaded down with bottles of SPF 30, Ray-Ban sunglasses and flip-flops, but before the excitement of the most anticipated college vacation muddies your mind further, let’s remember some valuable tips that can keep you happy, healthy and out of jail.
- Monitor your alcohol intake. Panama City Beach, Cancun and many other warm-climate, coastal locales will be crawling with inebriated college students by late March, and the temptation to drink to excess will be difficult to resist. However, it is no secret alcohol impairs your judgment, and impaired judgment could lead to potentially costly and unsafe behavior. So to use the go-to slogan for adult beverage manufacturers: Please, always drink responsibly.
- Use the buddy system. Though you are not a 12-year-old on a field trip holding hands with a classmate to ensure you don’t get lost, you will be immersed in an overly-crowded, alcohol-soaked environment, and it is important to ensure each person on the trip returns home safely. Keep tabs on your “buddy” at clubs and bars and any other location where alcohol will be consumed. If you see a friend who is overly intoxicated or on the precipice of a colossal error in judgment, make sure to intervene, as your “buddy” would do for you.
- Avoid risky behavior. While this may seem redundant, often times the “you only live once” and “what happens here stays here” mentality implies it is okay to engage in unnecessary risks, such as performing a swan dive from the third floor into the seven-foot-deep pool below. Why should you behave any differently or take unnecessary risks just because it is spring break?
- Avoid tattoos and piercings. Do you want to explain ten years from now why you got that ridiculous tattoo in that equally ridiculous location during the “totally insane” Spring Break ’13? Probably not, and you definitely do not want to spend the rest of your life staring at the permanently inked tribal symbol, whose exact meaning is still pretty unclear, every time you look in the mirror. Don’t make a permanent decision based off a temporary feeling of excitement.
- Do not drink and drive. This is self-explanatory and since law enforcement officials have a zero-tolerance policy regarding this behavior, it needs no further explanation.
- Use protection. No, this is not a suggestion to carry a semi-automatic weapon on your person at all times, but it is in reference to any sexual conduct you may engage in while living it up on spring break. Be safe. Not everything that happens there stays there.
- Stay under the radar. Loud and boisterous behavior can turn you and your friends into targets for thieves, and nothing draws more attention than a loud group of college men in neon swim trunks guzzling beer as they walk down the strip.
- Always have a charged cell phone on hand. Program at least two emergency contact numbers into your speed dial and ensure at least two people outside of your group of party goers are aware of your location each night.
- Be aware of the effects of sun and alcohol. The hot, spring break sun is a fair weather fan for all the party-going beach dwellers. While enveloping you in its warm sunshine and providing you a perfectly bronzed tan, it also quickens the effects of alcohol and causes a more acute effect with continued exposure. Make sure to stay hydrated while consuming alcohol under the sun, and always apply sunscreen. Nothing is more unattractive than a lobster in a tank top and flip-flops.
- Be wary of drinking while soaking in the hot tub. If we have learned anything from Jersey Shore, it is that the combination of alcohol in the hot tub generally leads to regrettable outcomes. And just like with the sun, alcohol consumed in a hot tub will bring about the effects sooner and stronger, which could lead to unconsciousness, which could lead to drowning.
In short, spring break is a time to let off some steam and relax before finishing off another school year, but it is also important to be sensible and responsible while letting loose. So to sum up, have fun, be safe and steer clear of the “buy one, get one half off” deal at the tattoo parlor, it isn’t worth it.