Editor's note: This team-written column is one in a series of five about spring break, all written from a different life perspective.
When asked to don a bright white T-shirt and climb on a stage with dozens of other cotton-clad women, stop, think and step away from the jet stream of water headed for your chest. This is not a celebrity party, a spring break uniform or any other confused explanation your inebriated brain has come up with. It is a wet T-shirt contest, and to spare your dignity, you might want to run. Fast.
We won't judge you for the clothes on your back or the thoughts in your head, but do something stupid and we'll let you know.
Ali, Zoey and Jordan are editors at Vox Magazine in Columbia and senior journalism students at MU.
Whether your travels take you to distant beaches, snowy peaks or your own comfy couch, a level head and some solid reason will help you avoid such harrowing hells as the one described above.
To keep your peers from judging you, follow our advice.
Let's start with spring break cell phone use. When taking liquor-infused dips in pools late at night, keep your phone out of the equation. Better yet, don't involve cell phone use in any liquor-fueled or water-related adventures. No good can come of it. If you know your activities will involve liquid libations, consider buying a cheap go-phone and sticking in your SIM card. They're much cheaper to replace than your fancy smart phone.
Spring break vacations tend to involve sunny locations. If you tend to get sunburns, throw some sunscreen in your checked baggage. Your wimpy seven layers of skin are no match for a multimillion-degree ball of hydrogen. Unless you want to spend your vacation lying flat on the hotel bed with your limbs stretched out to avoid physical contact, slather on some sunscreen.
Picture a lightsaber burning your flesh. Then shrink that weapon into a tattoo artist's needle and point it at the exposed skin on your lower back. Now reconsider the butterfly tramp-stamp on the wall of examples at the tattoo shop. Stop, think and step away from the buzzing tattoo gun. Now say, "Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore." Repeat while holding your tongue, and reconsider the tongue piercing.
To those of you who ignored our advice this year, now that your phone's at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool, your skin's the color of a boiled lobster and your bare chest will soon appear on late-night TV, kick yourself for not listening to us. Unlock your dignity from Davy Jones' locker, buy some aloe and keep our advice in mind for next year.