SUBMITTED: How to have a miserable spring break

Karl Laves

This is a tongue in cheek attempt to share some ideas about how to set yourself for a miserable spring break. That is, maybe think about not doing these things in order to get the most out of your spring break.

Contrary to some people’s way of thinking, spring break isn’t a tradition meant to satisfy the desires of spoiled college students. No doubt there is a connection to the onset of spring, probably back when cabin fever was more of a reality for people.

Spring break also has some of its origin in the idea that college students are pushing themselves hard, academically, and need a break somewhere in the middle of the semester to recover and renew.

So, I would argue that it is important to get the most out of spring break, and here is how you shouldn’t do it.


Spend a lot of money trying to have the most incredible experience. That way when you come back to classes you will be in debt and maybe even more exhausted than before you left. 

Nothing wrong with the stereotypical beach vacation, but you can recover and renew just as well at a local campground or even spending the week in town or at home. It is quality, not quantity. 

And remember that if you can’t relax in your residence hall room or apartment, you can’t relax in a four star beach resort. Location doesn’t make you relax; your mind makes you relax.


Do what everyone else is doing. Even if you don’t like the beach, don’t like wild mass parties, don’t like sunburns, or don’t like eating out all day. You want to do what you enjoy. 

If that means making a blanket fort, stacking up your favorite books and making a pot of hot chocolate, then do that. Maybe you want to spend a week in silence, or exercise or trying every coffee shop in town. Maybe you want to binge some old series on Netflix. Do what you enjoy.


Be sure to take your school work with you so you can catch up. Okay, seriously, if you are going to use the textbooks, then pack them. Otherwise don’t torture yourself by bringing them along and feeling bad every time you look at them. And don’t bring them along so you can pretend you might do some work and feel better about not doing the work. 

If you need a break, then you need a break. And, honestly, if you are really far behind in your work, then use the break to catch up. You will feel better once you are caught up and that feeling is similar to having a good break. 

Again, I’m talking about if you are way behind, like scary behind. The thing about college is that there is always something more you could do. Don’t wear yourself out always trying to get ahead.


Invest heavily in the YOLO philosophy and do something on break you would usually not even consider doing. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas is a lie. What happens happens and usually will follow you wherever you go. 

A random hook up can come with infections, regrets, the beginning of a stalking relationship, etc. Nothing wrong with living large, but always remember that fantasies are so powerful because they don’t follow the rules of nature. 

At 2:00 am with a good buzz going, that tattoo will look great… four days later you are looking at a permanent reminder that impulsive choices rarely pan out well.


So do have a good break and get what you need from it. Just don’t buy into the stereotypes of spring break that keep the industry rolling in cash. Honor yourself by taking a break that will restore you, not leave you wrung out and broke.

Karl Laves is the associate director of the WKU Counseling Center. He holds a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia.