I loved to party in college.
I was on first name basis with all the bartenders at my favorite bar. I basically carried our team during the senior keg race in the spring (sorry mom and dad). I loved to be around people, talking about life, goals, school, whatever, and oftentimes it involved having a vodka water lime in hand.
I’m only telling you these things to preface my next statement.
I never went on a “college spring break”. I never wanted to, I never felt the need to, so I didn’t.
While others’ spring breaks consisted of getting bronzed, running around the beach with mixed drinks in the their bubba kegs, and hitting the town for blended Miami Vice’s at night, my spring breaks looked a little different.
My freshman year I didn’t really have a set friend group yet to want to make plans with, so I just went home and chilled out with my parents and dog. I did have a little FOMO when everyone got back with their crazy spring break stories, but after two weeks, everyone’s tans faded and the world had moved on.
My sophomore year I took a girls’ trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with my mom and sister, which ironically, was the spot that everyone at my school was heading to that year. I was actually really looking forward to getting away for a bit and just reading sleeping on the beach all day and then eating my weight in seafood at night. But I did venture over to the party side of “Frat Lauderdale” for one day, just to experience it all. I ended up falling asleep around 7 pm, then waking up at 10 pm, ordered a pizza with my friend and called it a night. Sun + drinking + frolicking in bikinis = not my jam.
Junior year, once again, I just went home for a week of some much needed R+R and project tackling including making my own headboard and finding the perfect homemade granola recipe – I must have just discovered Pinterest or something.
And senior year Katherine and I skipped the “spring break diet” in favor of packing on the pounds for a ski trip to Canada. It was on this non-traditional spring break that we actually came up with the idea for the Lala. If I had gone to PCB I might not even be writing this very piece. Mind. Blown.
The weeks leading up to it each year, I did always question my choice to abstain from the “typical college spring break”. Was I missing out on a college bucket list item? Would everyone bond so much over break that I’d feel totally left out? Do I straight-up look like a loser? Am I gonna look back and regret this?
But I can sit here now and honestly say I don’t at all regret the choices I made cause they were right for me. The second you do something just because of social pressures or because FOMO gets the best of you, you’re doing them for the wrong reasons. And that ain’t cool.
For me, the idea of being surrounded by hundreds of my not-so-close acquaintances from school in a bikini (although I actually sport a one-piece or a Taylor Swift-style retro bathing suit) literally made my stomach curl. Underground bars where you can still smoke inside, wear a leather jacket and listen to live music was my scene. Not a mosh pit of college kids on PCB.
I needed my spring break to just chill out. The other 31 weeks of college were already a party for me, and by March I was always ready for a social break.
My ideal beach vacation would look like something out of one of those Sandals Resort commercials. Wake up, run on the beach, hit the sauna, read a book by the pool all day, talk to no one but the cabana boy refilling my daiquiri, and end the evening with a sunset dinner of something like linguini with clams and get in bed by 10. Call me a senior citizen but I like boring vacations, I like sleeping, I like “me time” and I’m damn proud of it.
I also sometimes just really needed to go home. I wanted to see my family. I wanted to cuddle with my dog. I wanted to catch up on all the shows on my parents’ DVR. I wanted to drive around my hometown and I wanted to return to school to finish the semester refreshed, centered and ready to go.
If you’re sitting here reading this, feeling that you don’t need that “typical college spring break” experience to complete you, you’re not alone. Just like every college student is unique, so is each and every college experience, and the cool part is, you get to decide what that looks like. Forget Spring Breakers and anything you ever saw on MTV. You do you – whether that means heading north rather than south, going home, working during break to make some extra cash, vowing to not change out of your PJs until you finish a whole TV show season on Netflix, or going on a beach vacay with your grandparents rather than your sorority sisters.
Don’t ever think you’re “doing spring break wrong” cause there really is no right way to do it. And when my friends came back with sunburns and hangovers, I came back with a business plan.