Given this tradition, when someone at church first mentioned a college-aged offspring's "beach week" plans a few Sundays ago, I assumed the college student was going to join friends a year or two younger for the high-school-grad beach week. But apparently there's another "beach week" tradition (how long-established, I'm not sure, but I don't think it was around in my college days): students from our flagship state U (and perhaps some other local schools, perhaps especially those who belong to fraternities/sororities) take a "beach week" every year after their exams are over.
On the one hand, I'm sympathetic. If someone offered me the chance to go to the beach right now (and magically created a corresponding open week in my schedule), I'd take it (that goes double if I could take it on a beach not populated by recent high school grads and/or college students, or perhaps a month ago or sometime in September, when the beach is quiet, but just as nice). Vacations are important, and I'm all for the taking of them. Most of these students have worked hard all year, and have productive plans for the summer, so why not a beach week in between? It's probably not even all that expensive, since we're talking about a week or two ago, when off-season rates were still in effect.
On the other hand, I can't help noticing that what was once was a way to celebrate a milestone has now become a yearly event (twice- or thrice-yearly, if you count spring break, which has been beach time for college students for many years, and family vacations). I also find myself reflecting on the class divide between the college students who attend my church (in a fairly wealthy inner suburb) and the students at my own regional state U (who hail mostly from the next few rings of suburbs out, or from the hinterlands-fast-becoming-suburbs -- in other words, the cheaper places to live). "Beach week" just isn't an option for students who're working nearly full-time (often at more than one job), and still having to take out loans to pay for school and living expenses. Even if they could afford a bit of fun, they probably couldn't get the time off (though they'd probably be better off, and better students, for a week of fun and/or rest).
So I guess I'm ambivalent. Beach week for all, every year, in the name of all work and no play being bad for all of us? Beach week for nobody, if we can't all have it? Beach week only in milestone years?
Any thoughts? Or is the CM readership also at the beach this Memorial Day weekend?