Conscious decisions pre-spring break make for a fun and safe time

by Kait Herr/Staff Writer

As spring break is fast approaching, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of breaking free, spending time with friends, traveling and maybe having a little “fun” with alcohol or sexual activity.

However, Simpson’s counseling and health services want to make sure students have a safe and regret-free break and have provided tips and ideas to help.

Ellie Olson, director of counseling services, said she encounters some pretty stereotypical situations post-spring break.

“Issues that come up include sexual assault, regrets about decisions made with alcohol and drugs, relationship problems that arise in response to actions while away, regrets about sexual encounters and drama that sometimes occurs in groups of people who have just spent a lot of time together in small quarters,” Olson said.

Rita Audlehelm, director of health services, and Campus Nurse Cindy Teasdale said they see many typical illnesses after spring break, which they believe stem from students being run down before and during spring break.

“You go into spring break stressed because you’ve been trying to get everything done and if you don’t take that time to relax, to make good choices and get good sleep, then you can come back so run down that you’re ill,” Teasdale said.

Teasdale said that the danger of pre-spring break stress is that it causes students to want to break free from the school life and do whatever they want to do.

“Sometimes that can lead to poor choices because you feel like you are in a pressure cooker situation and you want to get it all done,” Teasdale said.

Audlehelm mentioned that a good way for students to prepare for spring break is to make conscious decisions before spring break.

“Ask yourself, what do I want to get out of this, and what will benefit me?” Audlehelm said.

Olson also mentioned that in regards to sexual behavior, it is important to know where your boundaries are in an intimate relationship.

“Not knowing what you want from an intimate relationship makes it much easier to regret something later,” Olson said.

Olson also said it is important to respect the limits put on sexual behavior by others.

“Your idea of what is fun or where your evening is headed may be very different than the person you’re with,” Olson said. “It’s not up to you to convince someone of anything, it’s up to you to respect his or her limits.”

Audlehelm and Teasdale said it is important for students to think carefully in order to make good choices this spring break.

“Enjoy yourself, do it safely, and take care of yourself while you’re there,” Audlehelm said.

Olson, Audlehelm and Teasdale all agreed that basic things like using the buddy system, not drinking something you did not order yourself, not leaving an open drink unattended, being aware of how much you are drinking and setting limits are necessary for a regret-free spring break.Many resources are available to students before and after spring break who experience problems or want more information.

From the counseling office, two trained counselors are on staff to talk to students about any spring break issues and the SARA line (961-2899) is also available for those who experienced or need to talk about sexual assault.

From health services, a gallery event will be held on Tuesday, March 9 and will display all of the resources from health services and well as highlighting a new student health magazine that will be provided by health services.

Olson said her biggest piece of advice is to plan your trip and use good judgment so you and get the most out of your break without regrets.

“My take home message: think and plan before you go and communicate those plans to others,” Olson said.