It’s that time of year again, when the leaves are growing back on the trees, it is socially acceptable to wear flip-flops even though the weather isn’t totally permitting, and you're running very low on cash. In college terms, all of this means one thing: Spring Break.
For the 18- to 20-something year olds in college, Spring Break offers many possibilities. For some kids it means a trip to Cabo to sunbathe and drink pina coladas, for others it means entering a wet t-shirt contest in Miami. And for the lucky ones like me, it means a trip home, to spend the break with the parents.
A cheap Spring Break trip home to the rents means a few things. Mainly, giving up everything from late nights, sleeping in, and well, not to be dramatic, your freedom. It also means putting all (most) drug habits on hold, not being able to drink beer(s) with lunch, and cutting off your sex life.
Now don’t get me wrong, going home isn’t all that bad…after all it also means clean laundry, showering barefoot, making eggs that don’t originate in powder form, and let's not lie, money. But one thing I find to be true about all trips home is that they're like your traditional game of Monopoly. It starts off fun, but about two hours in, you’re ready to pick up the board, chuck it across the room, and scream bloody murder. Nobody is happy two hours into a game of Monopoly.
Let’s not beat around the bush either, once you have your clean laundry, a shower, and a home-cooked meal, you’re beginning to daydream about the beer cans and dirty dishes that comprise what you refer to as your dorm room. It doesn’t occur to you when you're hopping the plane, train, or car ride home that your destination’s façade is a lot more appealing than what lies behind it. This happens when you’re getting ready to go home for every break too. It’s like you’ve mysteriously misplaced all of the brain cells you thought you had two months ago when after dinner your mother casually dropped into conversation that she wanted you home by midnight.
Midnight. Midnight in college terms is approximately an hour after you have gotten out of the shower and left your room to make the walk a couple of blocks to the nearest party. At midnight you're still partially sober and waiting to get on the Beirut table. Asking you to come home at midnight is like asking you to get up at five-thirty in the morning for a refreshing jog. The probability of this happening is about as likely as getting hit by a car while you're sitting in your bedroom…at midnight. Your mom won’t let it go either. Suddenly you're not twenty, you're fifteen, it’s her house, and doing anything alcohol- or drug- related is completely unacceptable. So to ease her angst you chill at home for your first night back. I mean, you have some jetlag anyways (not really).
Two nights of this and you are no longer a peach to be stuck with at midnight. You then spend the rest of your break fighting with your parents about how you are an independent adult and you don’t need their bullshit support. You go back to school a couple days early, with no money, and have to break into your dorm because it’s not open yet. Then you realize you can’t drink without money and spend the next two-weeks handwriting letters of apology to your parents, who, after all, are solely responsible for feeding your addiction. A month and a half later you are getting ready to go home again and you seem to have forgotten that all of the previous events have ever taken place. You are so overtaken by the fact that you will have clean underwear and a matching pair of socks that you have refused to think about the hell that made up your holiday break.
So to make this Spring Break a little less painful, here's my advice: Limit your time at home to roughly one week, no more. If you're on some crazy schedule and your break is a month long, plan ahead to visit other friends at school, and definitely get a job—trust me, you need the extra cash flow. And if you're thinking no, you don’t need the additional money, the only thing I can come up with is that you must still be in high school, in which case you don’t know anything so…yeah. Also, discuss the terms of your stay before you arrive home. If your parents are set on giving you a curfew tell them to fuck off because you don’t have curfews at college. I’m kidding, well if your ballsy enough to say that go ahead, but keep in mind the prior two weeks of handwritten letter writing that took place, and if you’ve got your balls caught in your zipper then try to come to an agreement—give them a couple nights of movies and they’ll give you a couple nights of funnels and keg stands. In addition, don’t black out. I’m serious, the morning my mom asked me what happened to the kitchen last night, and I went downstairs to find I had unknowingly put the entire fridge in various pans on my stove, and then left the stove on, was not easy to explain…although it did say something for the burns on my right hand.
Lastly, take advantage of everything within your reach. Go grocery shopping with your mom and hand her a list of things you need for school. Personal recommendation? Leave off any alcoholic beverages and/or condoms. Do laundry (it’s free), cook food (when your sober), and take lots of showers—these amenities are like a needle in a haystack. Good luck, enjoy your time off, and remember what I said about Monopoly…you'll thank me later.