I could not concentrate most of this week, waiting for Sunday to arrive. I do not think most of the student body could, for that matter, considering Friday marked the official ending of classes and the official beginning of spring break. In typical college fashion style, of course the week we all had to drudge through was the busiest of the semester, since there was work due in every class—a paper, a project, a presentation. It seems that all of the teachers like to do that for some reason, but they swear it is just how the calendar magically falls, for spring break marks the halfway point of the semester and the halfway point of their classes. Either way, this week was torture.
Campus was dead, I noticed as I walked to my last class of the week on Thursday. The campus Chili’s was empty. The hangout by the student store and Starbucks on main campus, usually crammed with students sitting, studying, gathered in groups, eating, skateboarding, the works—so crammed that most of the time it is hard to even make your way through the crowd—was deserted. On the rest of my walk I thought about how I wish I could have left today for break, as most of the student body does. If most students do not skip Friday classes to take an extra day off for break and get a head start on their travels, the ones that remain are usually jumping from the windows wishing they could be so lucky. That was me at four-thirty Thursday afternoon.
I was sitting in my last class of the week, watching a presentation my classmates were explaining on a film that I had already viewed on three separate occasions, when my mind wandered away from the young, Jewish girl from “Yentl” and began drifting away and settling at all the popular places my friends and fellow students were going this break—the Bahamas, Punta Cana, Panama City, Florida, Miami, Florida, Costa Rica. The list goes on… When my teacher cut the presentation short a good fifteen minutes early to talk about the importance of safety for the upcoming break, my mind was reeled back to reality.
“Where is everyone going this break?” my teacher asked to no one in particular.
And no one jumped to respond. A few people said home. Some said up north. One girl said Florida. Pretty soon we ended up going around the room for each person to share where he or she was spending break. When it got to be my turn, I quietly said, “Vegas.”
My words were met with glaring stares—and whether stares of jealousy or bewilderment, I could not tell, while my teacher slowly said, “Oh my.” She proceeded with a few follow up questions in her kind, motherly way that she had about her with all of her students: Who am I going with, where am I staying, for how long am I going, do I plan on using the buddy system, etc.
I did not particularly mind the questions, especially since I already underwent questioning by my own mother. Although I do not classify myself as one of those “wild and crazy” college kids you see on the news or on MTV’s spring break special segment, I understood why anyone in his or her right mind would be concerned, considering I was a little apprehensive myself.
So I answered her questions as descriptively as my abilities would allow, and she felt a little more comfortable by the time she dismissed class. I promised her I would stick with a buddy the entire time, which I planned to do anyway, and be aware of my surroundings at all times. After all, the 1.5 million college students that participate in spring break and consume on average up to 10 alcoholic drinks per day, according to the WordPress website, are more likely to make impaired decisions and be put in risky situations. Knowing I was a good student, she felt better after I discussed my plan with her.
By the time most of the class had cleared out, the girl sitting next to me began gathering up her things and shoving them in her backpack. “You’re going to Vegas?” she said with a wink. “You’re so lucky. You’re gonna have the time of your life.”