Spring break is almost upon us at Grand Valley State University. When that final class of the week finally lets out, students and faculty alike will run back to their rooms in a happier mood. The fog of midterms, class projects and reading assignments will temporarily be lifted next week.

Whether you are traveling to another country, driving back home or just hanging around campus, we want to urge you to be safe, smart and represent our university to the best of your ability.

One piece of advice is to secure your belongings, especially when traveling abroad or to any American vacation spot. Always make sure you don’t leave a wallet or purse unattended and lock the doors of the hotel or vehicle while you are away.

Students should also be careful if driving to a spring break destination – watching out for both slippery road conditions and reckless drivers. For long trips – to Florida, for example – share driving time with friends or other travel companions. If you are going alone, then it is better to find a place to stay for the night to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel.

Next, be careful with alcohol. Spring break can be a time when students party and drink, but don’t feel like you have to drink just because your friends are. For those who are planning to drink, it is important to keep an eye on your drink, keep track of the number of drinks consumed and be aware of the strength of a drink.

All of these are easier when you have friends and/or family to rely on. Having a buddy system is especially important when traveling to a foreign country or even out of state because everyone can look out for each other to make sure everyone is safe and having fun.

Though you might not be in West Michigan or on campus, students need to make sure they are always representing GVSU and themselves in the best way possible. Excessive drinking and rowdiness is not the way to go.

This includes social media – where almost anyone can see your experiences. While it is okay to post about grand adventures, tagging people in risky situations – especially if they involve alcohol – is not something future employers will be impressed with.

Be safe, be smart and have a great week!