Vacations are Not the Time for Carelessness and Disrespect

Photo courtesy of Eli Molignon

The month of March often means one thing to many students across the country: spring break.

High school and college students are plagued with spring fever, dreaming longingly of white sandy beaches and their potential massive intake of tropical-flavored alcoholic beverages throughout all hours of the day.

While this may seem like fun and games, spring break as a whole seems to have gotten out of hand.

Videos of American teens chanting “build the wall” and other racially charged cheers in Mexico are circulating the internet.

Same with photos of young men shotgunning beer out of a can that was pierced open by the tooth of a live shark they were pinning down on the beach in the Bahamas.

But the damage continues after the videos are over — beaches are trashed with beer cans, napkins and countless Red Solo cups. The display is alarming; where is the respect?

Where is the respect for the local community? Where is the respect for the innocent wildlife? Where is the respect for the environment?

Believe it or not, the employees at these all-inclusive, white-washed resorts are people. They’re people who spend hours each day ensuring that privileged American “spring breakers” have a good time consuming too much alcohol, eating food and obtaining a wicked sunburn.

They’re people who have a culture and a history, which have all too often been devalued, blatantly disrespected and forgotten.

Take a minute and think about the implications of your words next time “build the wall” chants erupt on the beautiful beaches of Mexico.

For many spring breakers, the unique wildlife, warm weather and beautiful landscapes serve as the initial draws to a specific vacation destination. Why act in such a hostile manner in return?

I simply can’t bring myself to understand the self-centered mindset that would lead a person to drink beer out of the body of a starfish. Is the Snapchat story really worth the pain inflicted on a harmless creature?

I urge students to look back on the manner in which they spent their spring break. If someone did engage in these harmful behaviors, that individual needs to vow to move away from that.

I hope you think of this article around the time spring break plans begin to unfold next year, and I hope that you choose to spend it in a constructive, equally relaxing and more beneficial manner.

Personally, I firmly believe that there are much more valuable experiences to be gained from travel. If you go through all the effort, time and money to get yourself to a new place, isn’t it only logical to learn as much as you can while you’re there? Learn about the culture, the climate, the food, the people. I promise you won’t regret it.

I don’t mean to ruin the fun. I’m sure endless day drinking is much more fun on a beach in Cabo than it would be here in the current back-and-forth weather of Chicago.

Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with Spring Break being just that — a break. I fully support taking time to unwind; I even support taking a beach vacation to do so. But, it’s not necessary, not even permissible, to cause so much harm while doing so.

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