Cihacekj’s Weblog

September 14, 2008

Making a difference this Spring Break

Filed under: Entertainment — Jessica Cihacek @ 6:56 pm

Talk is already circulating around UNL’s campus about student spring break plans.  When a trip to Jamaica or Cancun costs upwards of $1,000, now is the time to start saving dollars for the excursion.  But when I’m still paying off a summer stay in New York, it’s depressing to think that I may finish my college career without ever having attended an exotic spring break vacation.  I know there are others out there who are in the same boat as I; who simply cannot afford an all-inclusive, beach resort, club scene, party central, Havana heaven getaway.

So, what’s a student to do?  Think of an alternative of course, and perhaps follow my lead this year.  Spring break’s purpose is to let lose, have fun, enjoy a riveting experience and to get away from the classroom, the papers, the lectures and yes, even the professors.  By no means am I promoting mission trips, rather, encouraging others (along with myself) to at least consider other venues to let lose, have fun, and enjoy a riveting experience.

When mission trips (especially relatively close ones) can range anywhere from $100-$600, it’s nice to imagine a spring break that can be paid for through only a couple month’s savings or for some, through a little pocket change.  When volunteers can choose a variety of locations such as Mexico, Costa Rica, India, or for the rookies, Toronto, Chicago, even St. Louis, it’s easy to pick a destination yet to be visited.  Many mission trips, especially those offered through FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) allow a day or two for students to experience the nicer areas of these “hot spots.”

Sure, a lot of work goes into mission trips.  A student can expect to be doing hard labor in what tends to be not so pleasant weather, seeing disturbing images of malnourished children, witness families in the poorest conditions, and find him or herself sleeping in a church, shack, or soup kitchen instead of a five-star hotel and resort.  But it is truly the life-changing experience and relationships you build that I believe is so much more valuable than a week spent in the Florida Keys.  Best of all it is a time of personal challenge and personal growth.  A week without ipods, television, makeup, computers, etc.  A week spent examining your strengths, weaknesses and what you’re capable of doing.

The children you meet, the families you help, the community you provide for always end up being  blown away at the care and compassion shown for them.  Mission trips truly provide a sense of inner-worth.  And while you may not return with beautiful, scenic pictures of beaches and night clubs, what you’ll bring back will be engraved in your mind and heart forever.  Challenge yourself.  Consider a mission trip this spring break, save a few hundred dollars while doing so, and I dare you…compare your story with a friend who visited Puerto Vallerta.


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