Students young and old ready for spring break

April 6, 2019

Another rite of passage is upon us – spring break. I think. It’s hard to tell, since it seems like no one is ever in school, or the answer is always, “We are on break.” But if you are observant, you usually can tell by their clothes.

If you see a young spring breaker, such as elementary school age, the child will return home wearing someone else’s clothes or minus something like one sneaker, which they traded to the bus driver for a piece of loose floor matting from the bus.

Whereas the college spring breaker will return home wearing the same clothes he left with six months ago and carrying enough bags of dirty laundry to make a janitor pass out cold outside a National Football League team’s locker room.

The high school spring breaker doesn’t really count, since they have been on break since you brought them home from the hospital.

The most obvious spring break specimen, though, is the older student. The respite gives them an experience so they can adjust to the outside working environment, mainly the future holiday office party, only with a lot of wet T-shirts and enough beer bongs to stretch all the way across Florida. Hundreds of college students will leave the rigors of academia only to continue their education in such scientific locations as Fort Lauderdale and the Caribbean islands. There they will renew their mind, spirit and body, judging by the few clothes they’ve chosen to wear. They will pull the plug on their inhibitions faster than a piece of burning toast.

Just for a moment, consider the college student. Most of them will find the transition difficult, for they will have to leave the comfort of their communal couches, which are usually located on the front lawn of the campus, and head for the couch at home, still wrapped in plastic since it was delivered in the 1950s. Once home, the student will fall into a deep coma.

If there is a family pet, such as a dog, particularly if it is a large black one, the animal will attach itself like an amoeba to a host, thinking the child is a long-lost dog relative, perhaps a brother-in-law from the Labrador side of the family, simply because they have the same sleeping habits, which is all day, every day, until the semester starts up again. They will eat together, watch “Judge Judy” together and even text together, since the dog probably has swallowed at least one iPhone in his lifetime and the directions are now embedded in his stomach.

Oh, it’s not that we don’t want them home again. It’s only that you have the living room just the way you wanted it. It has the perfect couch, matching lamp shades and wonderful vacuum cleaner creases on the carpet. The guest towels are all aligned on the towel racks, instead of on the floor. The gas gauge in your car no longer reads empty. And the miniature ground cover is starting to come back from its trampled, parked-on vegetation look.

Still, there are plenty of kids who work hard over their spring break, helping others and performing work that makes a difference for charities and similar causes. Not everyone considers this a party break. There is zero to slim chance one of these types of kids will show up on my family tree, though.

Parents have been known to panic at the thought of children home on spring break. It’s one of the reasons you see a spike in recruitment figures for older adults joining the military.

But there is one golden rule if you have a college student home for spring break that will help you avoid anxiety and ease your fears. Just mention the word “job.” Of course, to be safe you should have an allergy kit readily available for anaphylactic shock reactions. 


  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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