It’s been six months since you arrived back on campus for another school year. Your summer glow is gone; your winter sickness has arrived. If you have to write one more discussion board you might explode; another two-hour business chapter and you’ll probably cry; the sight of another parking ticket on your windshield and you WILL throw hands. Motivation is at an all-time low and stress is high. Just when you feel like you’re one 8am from giving up and dropping out completely, it arrives. In all of its glory.
The beach, the mountains, anywhere but on campus - spring break is here.
Now we’re all Greek here and we’re no strangers to the spring break culture. In fact, really all you need is a pulse to have any understanding of what those 7 days of freedom are like for the average college student. With spring break season in full swing, you may already be feeling the tension of living out your faith in the spring break scene. Can you have the fun without the FOMO? I think so. But before I tell you how, let me tell you a little bit about how not.
As it turns out, the bible doesn’t explicitly talk about spring break anywhere (weird, I know), but we do get the next best thing. You know him, you love him, and if you’re anything like me you’ve definitely related to him: the Prodigal Son. In Luke 15, we see Jesus tell the story of the Prodigal Son to a crowd of tax collectors, sinners, and Pharisees. The story begins with two sons, the younger one is sick of working, tired of responsibilities, and ready for the “spring break” of his life. He asks his dad for his part of the inheritance and wastes no time in preparing for his vacay.
Jesus then goes on to share that his good times were pretty short lived, “not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living” (Luke 15: 13). Our guy goes from spring break to spring broke real quick and “when he came to his senses,” ends up landing a job feeding animals; so hungry he shares food with the pigs. Covered in dirt and full of shame, the younger son heads back home to beg his dad to hire him as a servant. Lucky for our younger son, he’s got a father who loves him unconditionally (and so do we!). A father who welcomes his son home with open arms and throws him a party upon his arrival. But, what if the younger son could have skipped right over that long walk of shame that followed his wild living and short-lived happiness? What if he knew how to rest from responsibilities well, returning to his work feeling restored rather than sorry?
Is it possible to spring break without a faith break? I definitely think it is, and here’s how:
1. Be intentional
- It’ll probably feel natural to transition from your last class on Friday straight into vacay mode without a second thought. BUT taking some time to think about your week of freedom might just save you from a road trip home feeling sadder, poorer, and more hungover than anticipated. Being intentional about things like your budget, setting personal standards for things like alcohol consumption, and planning for things like physical boundaries with guys or girls prior to leaving campus will help you enter into your trip feeling more prepared for whatever spring break throws your way.
2. Be held accountable
- Intentional plans are great and all, but sticking to them can be anything but easy. Share your plans with someone you trust to hold you accountable. Ask them to check in with you a few times throughout your trip to ask you how you’re upholding the commitments you’re trying to stick to.
3. Be aware
- I think it’s pretty safe to say that even if you were intentional about a solid spring break plan, the other hundreds of thousands of people who are spring breaking right along side you were probs not. Unfortunately, the nature of spring break activities puts so many people at risk for circumstances such as sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, and other substance related injuries and deaths. Being aware of these realities and noticing the signs of potentially dangerous situations will have your friends thanking you later.
Now if the younger son was here to conclude this blog, I’m pretty sure he’d want you to have fun, get a tan, and come back with some good memories. I’m also pretty sure he’d want you to learn from his mistakes and leave spring break feeling free from stress and full of rest. Lastly, he’d want me to remind you to pay off that parking ticket you got three weeks ago, you’re welcome.