I recently spoke with author and television correspondent, Amber Madison on how female college students can stay safe while traveling during Spring Break. Be sure to share the following information with fellow students and friends, it could save your life or that of a loved one. *Please note that this post may not be suitable for those under 18 (or uncomfortable with this topic) as she mentions the hazards of Spring Break; including drinking, sex and contraception.*
Candace Rose: How should students prepare before heading out for Spring Break and what should they be made aware of?
Amber Madison: "Going on Spring Break as a student, you want to let loose, you want to have a good time but you also have to stay safe, so a couple things to remember – first thing is be aware of how much you are drinking. For many students going on Spring Break does mean that they will be drinking. So if you're going to be drinking on Spring Break think 'have I had too much', 'have I been in the sun all day,' 'do I need to be drinking water right now instead of beer?' Keep on top of that. The second thing to remember is to always go out in groups. You always hear 'safety in numbers,' it's so true, especially on Spring Break. You want to always know where your friends are, keep tabs on them but also help them keep tabs on you. Use your phone to text your friends, let them know what you're doing. If you're in a group and you decide to go off alone with someone, text your friends and tell them that; maybe even use the camera feature on your phone to take a picture of the person that you're going off alone with, so that your friends know who you're going off with as well as that you're going off. And something that Spring Break does mean for a lot of people is hooking up and that is a reality. I read a statistic recently that three out of five girls have a friend that had unprotected sex on Spring Break, so you really want to go into Spring Break prepared and that means if you are sexually active, use condoms; bring condoms with you. If you are a girl be on some form of regular contraception but then also know that if your contraception fails or you do end up having unprotected sex you do have the option emergency contraception and Plan B One-Step is something that anybody- guy or girl, 17 or older can buy over the counter at a pharmacy and it works for up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex. But the sooner you take it, the better it works and the more likely it is to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant."
CR: Do you have any tips for College students who might be headed out of the country for Spring Break?
AM: "I think heading out of the country is tough because you don't have a cell phone (if it doesn't work internationally.) Something you might want to look into is 'hey, can you make this phone work internationally, it may be for a week or for a month?"
CR: What are some tips on staying safe on Spring Break while having fun?
AM: "Well I think one thing you can really do to keep yourself safe is to keep checking in with yourself. Say, hey am I making good choices right now? Am I comfortable? I think usually when you're making a bad decision you get that gut feeling ahh something's not quite right. Listen to that gut feeling and if you're doing something that you realize this may not be totally safe, then stop yourself right, then and there. Keep checking in with yourself and keep analyzing what you're doing and making sure that yes you are having fun but you're being safe about it also."
CR: How should they handle things if they get out of hand?
AM: "Well, I think what you want is that things don't get out of hand in the first place and be prepared. Stick with your friends and maintain a level of responsibility even while you're off on Spring Break and that's the way to make sure things don't get out of hand."
CR: Where can we go for more information?