Spring destination to nowhere

Greg Kane

You caught the first flight out of Sacramento after your last class on Friday, determined to savor every second of Spring Break. Only the essentials are packed: sunscreen, chinos, sandals, shades — all the stuff you need for lazing about on an island paradise. Your textbooks didn’t make the cut; a deck of cards and some CDs replaced them.

Fast-forward. You’re relaxing in a comfortable straw chair, legs stretched out and arms clasped behind your head. All around you is a blanket of warm, white sand, and beyond that is a sea of shimmering diamonds, water so clear you can wave at the fish as they swim by. An icy margarita — the real kind, made with fresh limes — sits on a table to your right.

Waves splash on the wet surf. A bird soars along the coast, singing. Warm sunlight glows against your skin. School is so far away…

What’s that? You’re not heading down to the beach for a relaxing vacation next week?

Join the club. The vast majority of Sacramento State won’t be doing any traveling during the break. They’ll be right here in town, getting caught up in their studies or punching the clock at work.”Many of our students live and have other jobs in the area,” says Lou Camera, director of Student Activities at Sac State. “They have a harder time picking up and leaving.”

Sac State isn’t like isolated campuses such as Stanford or the University of California, Berkeley, where students get dropped off at the dorms as freshmen and pretty much stay on campus for four years. The majority of students here work at least a part-time job, according to university statistics.

That’s a lot of people, depending on a lot of paychecks at a time when tuition is about to go up — a lot. With that in mind, spending a truckload of cash to hang out on a beach for a week may not be the best decision to make.

“With the state of the economy, a lot of people may be traveling less than usual,” Camera says.

Even if students had money to burn on a trip to Mexico or Hawaii, they still have to worry about falling behind on their schoolwork. Some professors will assign work to be completed during the break. Even those who don’t expect students to use some of the free time for studying.

That’s exactly what senior Scott Christian plans to do next week. He says that when he’s not working, he’ll probably have his nose buried in a book.

“I have a ton of stuff to do for school,” Christian says. “That’s how I’ll probably spend my break, working and catching up (with my studies).”

Even if he had the time, Christian doesn’t think a trip during Spring Break — with its notoriously wild atmosphere — would be something he’d be interested in.

“I’m kind of past the whole Spring Break thing, (like) going to Cancun and getting wasted,” Christian says.

Not everyone can resist the allure of the beach. Junior Leah Herburger plans on traveling to San Diego during the break, but work and school obligations will force her to keep the trip short.”The second half (of the week) I’ll be working at my new job,” Herburger says.

Most students won’t end up sipping cocktails on the beach next week. That doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself crazy, however. Enjoy the time you’d normally spend in class. Catch up on your sleep, or pick up a shift and make a little extra cash.

Spring Breakers in Mexico and Hawaii may have all the fun next week, but come Monday, they’ll be the ones left with nothing but empty wallets and a backlog of assignments to go with their tans.

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