COLLEGE
03/08/2012 08:26 am ET

College Counselor: Five Tips To Survive Spring Break

To all of the over-caffeinated students sitting in college libraries across the country right now anxiously gnawing on pencils, learning the entirety of biophysics textbooks and memorizing five thousand French vocab words in the anticipation of tomorrow's midterms in anticipation of next week's spring break:

This is for you.

If you're over it already and need to get back to the grind, I'll leave you with perhaps the simplest of wisdom: Hydrate. For the rest of you, here are some tips from a resident expert on being an awkward college student to make the most of your ten days of debauchery. Procrastinate on!

1. As The Old Saying Goes...
It's a marathon, not a race. If I learned anything from a weekend at UPenn's Spring Fling concert my freshman year, beginning your festivities at 9:45 am is a noble but wholly inappropriate social gesture. If you're headed to a typically tropical spring break destination, take advantage of your beautiful beachside surroundings in a way that you'll actually remember (plus, it's way harder to apply sunscreen when you're drunk). You can always see what you "missed out on" at MTV.com, where footage of Spring Break 2012 (Vegas, baby!) is online. You'll be glad it's not you on the big screen.

2. You Get What You Pay For
Yes, 600 dollars for a six-day trip to Nassau, Bahamas (five minutes from beach! near fun nightlife! student prices!), may seem like an incredible deal, especially for a student budget. Suddenly, though, you're in a half-star hotel room about ten minutes from nowhere. There's a great little beach -- just off the strip of highway -- and the hot dog stand run by the man with the three-legged dog is to die for. In short, be sure to investigate before booking what seems like a bargain. You might end up wondering why the tap water in your room is the consistency of mustard and where, exactly, the palm trees and white sand are hiding. (The answer? In my case, a twenty minute cab ride away.)

3. "Spring Break" Is A Myth
Obviously, I was an exceptionally social teen with a large group of friends whose perception of spring break parties did not depend exclusively on the 80s movie "Spring Break."

But just on the off chance that someone out there was like that, let it be known that spring break does not necessitate that you remove certain items of clothing nor imbibe excessively large rum drinks nor allow a member of the opposite sex to consume a gelatinous substance filled with alcohol from atop your belly button. The cultish notions of the American college spring break are misguided, and there are plenty of ways to let loose without leaving your dignity behind.

4. Alternative Is In
In the same vein, an emerging trend among college students is to take an "Alternative Spring Break" trip. The idea behind ASB is to go with a group of friends and fellow students to either a domestic or foreign location and work on a service project. Check out these write-ups from student newspapers at the University of Michigan, Columbia University and Georgetown University for more information on ASB and other similar programs.

5. Why Not Stay Put?
"Home" is a perfectly acceptable answer to the question, "Where are you going for spring break?" Better yet, if you attend a city school, take advantage of your time off and do all the things you've, like, totally been meaning to do in the city but just haven't gotten around to yet. I hesitate to use the word "staycation" for fear of vicious commenters below, but as dorky as it sounds, the concept is a brilliant one. Plus, Oprah just released her list of 18 "Must-Read Books" for March, so why not pick up that new Kindle you bought from all the airfare savings and sink, victoriously, into the couch at home. Rum drink optional.

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