It’s that time of year again–Spring Break time.
Spring academic recesses will break out across the nation. Some will stay home with family, or remain at school and study. Some will choose a public service alternative, or spend time with a domestic or international aid organization. Despite these attractive spring break options, countless people will still choose to go absolutely hog-wild writing articles on just how dangerous it is to party.
Many college publications have weighed in on Spring Break plans, and even J-WOWW offered sage advice. I may as well throw my hat in the ring– here are my “do’s” and “don’ts” of spring break advice lists:
DO recognize that as fees and tuition skyrocket nationwide, many students will remain on campuses to work extra hours to pay for school.
Not to worry, journalists– chances are, if you are a concerned parent, 54% of your offspring’s male peers and 51% of your offspring’s female peers will be working through spring break. 64% of female students and 57% of male students will even visit their parents over break.
And if you are a young college journalist writing advice articles on travel to Mexico, and therefore underemployed, you will likely also join those peers in working over spring break. Furthermore, although MTV’s seasonal “Spring Break” programming may suggest otherwise, costly trips are not a recession-proof market, and now that Jersey Shore and The Real World: DC have ended, many college students probably aren’t watching.
DON’T make glaring generalizations about Mexico, and by extension, about Mexicans.
After the State Department released a travel advisory about Mexican border towns, many colleges, including some of the Universities of California, sent out campus-wide notices “strongly [advising] against travel to Mexico during Spring Break.” Campuses cite violence in Ciudad Juarez and other border towns, as a result of drug trafficking, in their defense of the recommendation. Outside articles continue to warn against traveling to Mexico.
The most recent data on Ciudad Juarez’s murder rate confirms that it is the deadliest city in the world. But the characterization of the entirety of Mexico as a threat to all college-age students criminalizes the country, its citizens, and immigrants to the United States. As the U.S. continues with the construction of a wall with Mexico whose technology was purchased from the Israeli separation wall, and staunch anti-immigration activists will spend spring break on a porch with their guns pointed south, cultivating fear of Chican@/Latin@ people is a dangerous move.
In the same study, New Orleans was ranked the third most deadly city in the world, based on homicides. Where is the travel advisory for students who perform aid work in NOLA during Spring Break?
DON’T blame survivors of rape by offering tips to women to avoid “getting raped.”
Six rapes occurred in one week in Daytona Beach, FL, most of which involved alcohol and/or drugs. Logically, Police Chief Mike Chitwood advised:
“Women shouldn’t put themselves in the position to be victims. They should try stay in the company of friends and never leave with someone they just met.”
RAINN has a good list of spring break tips on sexual assault. But I think that Chitwood would do more good circulating Colleen Jameson’s great list of Sexual Assault Prevention Tips:
Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
Hopefully, these three simple tips will save thousands from making disastrous decisions in their yearly doling-out of spring break advice.