by Matthew W. Beale
photo by Cyn Zarco
"We got el shafto grande," uttered the Stu character from the Hollywood epic, "Spring Break," directed by Sean Cunningham, who brought us the first "Friday the Thirteenth." And this seems to succinctly nail the experience of many students as they venture south for a hazy, heady week of escapism, lemming-like, every year. Of course this sounds like a cynical attitude to project onto a time that many students will look back upon-- nostalgically pawing through photo albums, and so forth-- with fondness for years afterward.

The reality of the situation, however, is that many of the negative side effects of debauchery-- such as, say, heavy binge-drinking-- are prevalent when students head to such Spring Break meccas as Daytona and Panama City Beach.


Despite the hedonistic, relatively consequence-free bliss that typically characterizes most feature films, such serious incidents as driving under the influence are on the rise when this annual Bacchanalian ritual rolls around.

A recent poll showed that three out of four of those who drink while on spring break never bother to sober up during vacation, drinking continuously. Quite often students, who save their money throughout the school year working part-time jobs, squander the balance of their student loan accounts, or even beg their parents for funds, etc., actually annihilate their lump of spring break cash in the first day or two, ending up stranded in their motel/hotel rooms, watching reruns of "Gilligan's Island." A three-hour tour, indeed. Chug-fests by poolside, with extraordinarily low-grade beer, and lounging around with potentially GHB-toting mates might sound like just the needed panacea to relieve academic stress. Wipe the slate clean. Tabula Rasa. But for who seek a chance to exercise their individuality, not to mention common sense, alternatives DO exist-- which are light on the budget, easy on the liver, and free of potential liability.