For college students bogged down by mid-terms and winter’s lingering chill, Spring Break is a dream soon-to-come-true. For parents, the thought of Spring Break as expensive, all-inclusive trips, and week-long parties is a nightmare. But just because certain movies and shows present Spring Break as an excuse for debauchery, parents can rest assured that most students’ breaks don’t fit the stereotype.
Whether your student needs a mental break from the challenges of the semester or is looking for adventure and an epic Spring Break experience, you can provide suggestions to help him/her make the most of the break – and to put your mind at ease so you know the plans and the participants.
Consider discussing the following inexpensive Spring Break ideas with your student:
For many students, Spring Break is about getting away from school and hanging out with friends. What better way to do both than to head out to the wilderness to spend a few days hiking, spending time unplugged from the computer, swapping stories around the bonfire, and saving money on restaurants and lodging.
Students who realize that Spring Break is a privilege may want to spend their time in a meaningful way. Many people – in this country and others – can’t afford higher education. On top of that, a week off in the Spring won’t come along every year once the post-college real world hits.
Recognizing the special position that puts them in, some students spend their week volunteering with inner-city non-profits or other philanthropic organizations. Many cities have poverty simulations to give people hands-on experience to illustrate what poverty looks like in their community, which makes a lasting impression and helps to form a realistic worldview.
Rather than spending a fortune on airfare to travel to a destination over-run by college students, suggest that your student plan a meaningful trip with friends. Do they share a common passion, like vinyl records, BBQ, swing dancing, or sculptures (to name a few)? Tailoring a road trip to hit special landmarks, restaurants, and local sites across several states will provide them with an experience they’ll recount to their grandchildren.
Is your upperclassman student still unsure of what to do after graduation? Spring Break is the perfect time to step away from college and into the real world. Encourage him/her to contact a family member or friend in his potential field – or to get contacts from a professor – and set up a few days during the break to shadow the professional at work.
Depending on the field and the circumstance, your student might get a week to learn the ins and outs of the job, or just a meeting with someone for an hour to hear about the career. Either way, glancing into the real-world career will help put majors, degrees, and graduation into perspective.
If your student is itching to get away on vacation but has no money to do it, you may have the perfect opportunity for a family vacation on your hands. As students gain independence and enjoy the freedom of living away from home, they also start to appreciate their family and miss spending quality time together. If your student isn’t there yet, don’t worry. But paying for your student to join the family on a Spring Break trip could be a win-win situation for everyone. Enjoy the chances you have to spend time together now; in just a few years, your student’s entry-level job won’t afford much vacation.