A Sobering Instead of a Sensational Spring Break
As we pass the mid-semester mark and universities close for a much-needed sabbatical, students from across the country flock to quintessential spring break destinations like Miami and Cancún. This type of booze-fueled, beach focused, and endlessly exciting trip is emblematic of the size of the release needed to assuage students who have almost reached the tipping point, brought on by midterms and papers.
Last year I took one of these trips myself to Barcelona and Madrid with my suitemates, and I most definitively understand the appeal and why this archetype has prevailed. Lazing on the beach, extravagant food, and memorable nights comprise only a fraction of the many indelible memories I have from that trip.
However, this spring break was a stark departure from my previous trip. I chose to return home, pass up on a trip to Mexico with my friends, in favor of the foggy, sleepy and familiar surfer town south of San Francisco that I call home. Some might call me insane, but reflecting back on my choice I wouldn’t have it any other way. Instead of sipping a Gin & Tonic on the beach, I gulped water after strenuous hockey games and long hikes. City center tours became long walks through the redwood forests of Northern California with my childhood friends, catching up on their accomplishments and aspirations. This trip also reminded me that while I am in college, my siblings’ lives continue unimpeded and I felt regretful that I had to miss them growing up; being back allowed me to make more memories with them and get a glimpse into their life now. I could tell the quiet environment was creating a much different spring break experience in comparison to the last Spanish adventure.
What distinguished this trip for me personally were my thoughts during this time. Without the chaos and fast-paced nature of an exotic destination, I turned my attention to my self-projected image of myself. I found myself in the sand on a bluff-protected beach or in the foothills near my town contemplating my path, my traits, my flaws, and generally my perception of who I thought I was. I know breaks should be a break from complex thinking that marks our college programs, but I found this pondering and introspection valuable not academically but personally for my own growth, maturity, and realization of a self, processes that we all are grappling with in this stage of our life. I was surprised that this is where my mind went but I was grateful for this chance at self-evaluation and insight.
A vast array of pointed but necessary questions populated my mind throughout the trip. Am I on track to attain my goals? Am who I want to be at this age? What do I truly cherish in life? Who will I be in five years? These kinds of questions have terrified me in the past but in my encapsulated, stress-free spring break sanctuary I could mull them over without the overarching pressure and hustle of the New York City and academic work.
In short, spring break was not an exhilarating blur of sensation and color, but a contemplative exploration of self that strengthened my resolve to succeed and made me more secure within my own skin. If you are considering taking a relaxing hiatus from it all and want to have a hugely beneficial recalibration, consider saving the Bahamas for next year — you won’t regret it.
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