The beginning of March marks the beginning of a very special yearly tradition as broke college kids around the country magically scrounge up enough money to binge drink in a foreign country or on one of the many beaches along the coast of Florida.
If you manage to make it through college without dying on spring break, you'll have four (or more, depending on how much you party at school) chances to take advantage of a week off during a time in your life when the reality of your student loan debt still hasn't set in.
Based on both my experience and the experiences of people who wouldn't stop talking about their spring break after coming back to school, people decide to use this seemingly arbitrary gap in the academic calendar to partake in an incredibly wide array of extracurricular activities.
Even though most people might associate spring break with a bunch of guys who are way too eager to take their shirts off and pressure drunk women into doing the same with their bikini tops, that's only one of the many types of spring break college students will encounter during their time in school.
The Under 21 Spring Break
The aforementioned "authentic" spring break experience is a bit of a paradox because even though it's an experience no human being deserves to go through, it's also something every single person should experience at least once.
Objectively speaking, there's nothing particularly enjoyable about being drunk for a week filled with sunburns, a lack of personal space and whatever rapper who had a popular song in 2008 the promoter managed to get to perform.
With that said, it's pretty easy to deal with all of those things when you're drunk for a week straight. It's the feeling you experience when the week ends that will stop you from ever doing it again -- a lesson most people learn before their junior year.
If you don't have a fake ID, you probably booked a travel package to Punta Cana with your friends when neon flyers for an all-inclusive vacation started popping up on campus the day the temperature dropped below 50 degrees.
If you do, you probably booked your trip to Panama City Beach around the same time.
The Stay At Home Spring Break
This version of spring break tends to be most popular among people who would've loved to have gone on an authentic spring break but lacked the funds, friends or parents who are willing to turn a blind eye to the activities traditionally associated with it.
While your friends are busy funneling beers and trying to figure out the origin of the rash they just noticed, you'll be trying to figure out how much you can water down the vodka without anyone noticing while your mother tells you all about the blemish her doctor is worried about.
You only have to experience this once to ensure you'll never experience it again.
The Service Trip Spring Break
Some people spend their entire first semester saving up money and making the necessary sacrifices to ensure they'll be able to take full advantage of the spring break experience for the one week a year they're lucky enough to take part.
Other people spend their entire semester begging their friends to donate their meal plan money to ensure they'll be able to take full advantage of their experience in an underprivileged part of the world and eventually make those same friends feel guilty about not making the same sacrifice.
It's great you spent your vacation on a service trip where you erected outhouses in Appalachia, but other people want to hear about it about as much as you want to hear about all of the unusual places they vomited during theirs.
The Over 21 Spring Break
You've spent the last three years traveling to resort towns, underprivileged countries and resort towns in underprivileged countries, and considering you've managed to give yourself a four-day weekend during your last semester, finding the time to party is the least of your concerns.
By now, you should have figured out who your closest friends are, and you owe it to each other to find a house or hotel room in a place where you have access to everything you'd want on a vacation without having to deal with throngs of college kids who seem to love punching things (and people) for no real reason.
You might end up being a part of that insufferable group of drunk people you'd normally hate to deal with, but at least you'll probably be the only one of them within a 5-mile radius.