As I write this, I am sitting on a flight from Mexico to the U.S., sad to be on my way home after an amazing Spring Break. For the past week, I’ve snorkeled, sunbathed, sailed and sipped margaritas. But my number one favorite Spring Break pastime? People watching.
Every year, college kids descend on beach locales for little more reason than to get trashed and smoosh up against each other (see: Jersey Shore). They descend on these cities with little more than bikinis and a few dollars, and they return to school sunburned and sporting a whopping new case of gonorrhea.
You think I’m kidding, but all it takes is five minutes at a beachside cantina to overhear some fratastic bro bragging about the not one, not two, but THREE girls he took the plunge with the night before. And I don’t think his discount hotel room came equipped with a plunge pool, if that’s what you’re thinking.
You can go ahead and call me a prude all you want. My friends and I joked all week that our activities were more appropriate for a family vacation than our last collegiate spring break. But we all managed to return with our dignity, without a hickey or herpe in sight. And all of our pictures are embarrassment-free, with the exception of a few bad hair days.
I’m not condemning Spring Break. It’s an awesome excuse to escape from gray old Ithaca and get some sun (Vitamin D!). And I’m not a sex (or lack of sex) columnist; just look to the right for that. But the whole break made me wonder — what makes a bunch of smart, relatively well off students act like psychotic wannabe porn stars on vacation? What makes a girl want to get up on a table and remove her dress, and what in the world makes any guy want to take that same girl back to his hotel for some hanky panky?
Are people so tightly wound or hormonal that they truly want to hook up with strangers (in public, no less), or is it about showing off to their friends? Are we so stressed that we need to go hog wild to let go, or has everyone just forgotten about such societal plagues as, say, AIDS and Girls Gone Wild?
Sure, maybe there’s nothing harmful about tequila (to an extent) or making out with a stranger from UCSD. But I can’t quite figure out why it is that students, even those at Cornell, feel like the only way to relieve stress is to drink massive amounts of booze or have massive amounts of sex, preferably with multiple strangers.
To be frank, maybe we’re all just really dumb and short sighted. Do you think your wife someday will be happy when you regale her with tales of your threesomes in Acapulco? You can say, “what happens on Spring Break stays on Spring Break,” now, but pop a few too many Dom corks at your wedding and who knows what your old frat buddies will spill. Not to mention what would happen if you ended up with a disease, or puke on a cop and end up in a third world prison. Good luck on that one.
Hopefully, everyone made it back from Spring Break unscathed. But while we all may be able to justify a little dirty (clothed) dancing at Squid Roe, we should probably start to think about the consequences of our actions, from the Caribbean to College Ave.
Do you really want to be the girl that everyone remembers as the J.O.’s table whore? Or the guy who slept with dozens of random, ugly girls because he got so wasted at the Palms? What happens in 10 years when you meet with a potential client, who happens to remember you as the drunk horny guy from college?
We work our asses off at Cornell to build up good grades, great connections and ideal resumes. All of our hard work, though, could be ruined by one rogue Spring Break photo or scorned sexual partner. We may be in our carefree college days, but maybe we should start caring — about what happens outside the Cornell and Spring Break bubble, and what will affect us later in life.
I don’t mean to preach. I have done some pretty dumb stuff, too (all I can say is that hanging upside down at the Giggling Marlin seems like a really good idea after four margaritas). I’m not an expert at good behavior. But I do know one thing — swimming with dolphins isn’t likely to give you an STD, and Renoir the dolphin certainly isn’t going to call me in a few weeks to tell me he’s pregnant. Just sayin’.
Leigha Kemmett is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at email@example.com. Starboard Tact appears alternate Thursdays this semester.