Spring Break Culture: Pleasure or Pressure?


Courtesy of the New York Times, Photographs by Patrick Ward/Corbis (top); Annie Griffiths Belt/Corbis (right); Claudio Vargas/AFP/Getty Images (bottom)

Without Spring Break last year, many Villanovans are feeling social pressure to do something special this year.

Kai da Luz, Staff Writer

While Villanovans aim to excel in their work day after day, everyone needs a break every once in a while. As such, spring break, beginning at the end of this week, is highly anticipated this year.

Students have been coveting this break since the start of the semester for different reasons. Some cannot wait to get back home, while others have trips planned with friends and family. Many are taking it as the perfect opportunity to escape the cold of winter.

“I’m heading out to Miami Beach with some friends,” freshman Jack Schloss said. “I like to spend spring break with friends and other breaks with family.”

Sophomore Jennifer McMahon is also taking time to enjoy the sun this spring break. McMahon, also heading down to Florida, is spending the break with her mom.

“Unfortunately, my break does not line up with my sisters’, so my mom will actually be in Florida for three weeks to make sure we all get our proper rest and relaxation after the stress of school,” McMahon said.

Many more students will be going home to celebrate the break. Brenna Bruffey will be spending her break with family and is preparing to head home to Maryland this weekend.

“My plans for spring break basically involve going home, watching my brother’s wrestling tournament, meeting up with an old friend from high school, reading a book, maybe some baking,” Bruffey said.

Whatever Villanovans are planning, it’s obvious that they will be fully enjoying their time off.

As a freshman at Villanova, I was under the impression that spring break would bring with it both cheers and jeers. More so than any other break portrayed in the media, I have been convinced that with spring break comes an unspoken pressure to do something or “go somewhere” during the time off.

This pressure, combined with social media posts and stories of bikinied beaches, constitutes what I’d describe as Spring Break Culture (SBC). SBC has been a staple in college life and has been steadily growing in the last decade.

“I feel like there is a little more pressure now that we are back to a regular schedule,” McMahon said concerning SBC.

Freshman Julian Pastor seemed to come to the same conclusion when asked about SBC’s presence on campus. Pastor will be spending the break catching up with friends, family and relaxing at home.

“I think this pressure exists at Villanova, but I personally don’t feel that pressure at this moment,” Pastor said. “As of right now, I like going home for breaks, but I can see myself embracing the idea of making spring break plans and going somewhere in the future.”

Such testimonies seem to affirm the stigma that SBC is still alive and well. However, the views of other students point to the contrary. It seems as though the pressure of SBC has drastically receded for many individuals this year due to a myriad of reasons. Top among these is the lingering presence and effects of the pandemic.

“I haven’t felt much pressure this year, but I think that’s mainly a result of COVID measures,” Bruffey said. “Vacationing has been kind of down since cases spiked, and it’s just nice to have measures begin to loosen, but I still wouldn’t want to go anywhere far if I can avoid it.”

McMahon had a similar belief that if this pressure was there before, the pandemic has greatly decreased it.

As with any break, there are many students that will be staying on campus. This is the case for senior Andrew Moura, who is staying at Villanova for spring break to keep his lab running and animals alive for his thesis.

When asked about SBC, Moura had a more unique insight.

“I don’t think there’s a stigma around needing to go somewhere for break that’s unique to Villanova,” Moura said. “A lot of people I know simply go home, and those that do travel are doing it because they can. If there is any stigma, it is simply a manifestation of broader US college culture, but it’s not a dictating force.”

With so many differing opinions, what are Villanovans to think regarding SBC? As many students pointed out, there are definitely some drawbacks to the pressure it creates. However, there are also many benefits that come with this culture.

Spring break often encourages students to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. And while the pressure to make memories and live up to the hype can be toxic, it can result in some unforgettable moments that one wouldn’t experience otherwise.

So, as Villanovans head into the break, I encourage students to try and ignore toxic SBC if they feel it at all, especially as COVID-19 fluctuates daily. However, the strain it causes does not seem too intense this year, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue.

If there is one thing that can be learned, it is that everyone treats the break differently, and each person knows what’s best for them. I sincerely hope all Villanovans get what they want out of the break, whatever that may be.