Spring Break, the words that imply freedom and fun in the sun, can be a crazy week for a college student. Besides being loaded with a ton of projects and assignments from professors, a college student also has the chance to engage in many entertaining activities, like surfing or traveling.

Even though surfing and traveling are fun and harmless, there are a few dangerous and unsafe activities that students engage in as well, such as “unprotected sex” and “general drug use” as Ron King, lead health educator, said.

Though these are not safe for students, one of the most exciting, yet risky activities that college students probably enjoy the most is going to a cool party with their friends.

At these parties, students eat, dance and play games with their buddies. Depending on the party the student and their friends attend, drinking is probably the main event and what everyone is looking forward to the most. Because of this, some students can get themselves into trouble, especially if they drive while drunk.

There are many reasons why students decide to have an extra beer or strawberry margarita over the break, and King personally believes that it is because of pressure from their friends.

 “I think for students who vacationed with friends during spring break dramatically increase their alcohol use due to peer pressure,” King said. “In contrast, students who stay home or vacation with parents during spring break are at low risk for excessive alcohol use.”

However, just because a student is pressured to drink alcohol doesn’t mean that they have to. They can always say no to their friends without feeling ashamed of their decision.

“It is normal to want to be part of a group and feel like you belong. Drinking alcohol is such a big part of socializing and saying no can make you feel left out or like you are not having much fun,” King said. “But if you don’t want to drink or have that one more, you should not have to. It’s important you feel confident and happy about your decision to not drink.”

Of course, all of this is not to say that students can’t drink during spring break, but students should be careful with what they choose. According to King, one of the safest ways to enjoy an alcoholic beverage is to make it yourself. Another way to safely enjoy a drink “is to know what constitutes as a drink (12oz. beer, 5oz. wine or 1oz. of liquor). Once you know this then maybe you could know your limits and drink in moderation.”

One more way to prepare yourself and learn how to make smart drinking decisions over Spring Break is to attend one of the events during Health and Safety Week beginning March 10-13. King said that these events will “help students adapt to healthy behavior.”

Overall, students can enjoy their spring break and have a drink or two as long as they don’t over do it and take precautions. At the end of the day, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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