Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Break – How to Fix it

I saw Wicked for the first time this weekend and it was one of the single best experiences of my life. 

Ones that compare would have to be my trips to England and Kauai. It’s that magical feeling and inspiration that comes from a new experiences of sight, sound, color, and feeling. And I appreciated that inspiration much more during this time in my life as so much of it is consumed with work. It is so easy to fall into routine and put the fun, new, and sometimes expensive experiences in your back pocket for some far off mysterious later time in your life when you will have the time and money. 

And yet I find that people who wait until they have the time or money wait forever.

Now I’m not saying you should drop out of school and go into debt to travel the world. But I am saying that you should take advantage of the free time you are offered in college – such as spring break – and invest in yourself by engaging in new experiences. 

At this time in life, especially if you grew up in a small little area of the world for most of your life like me, there are still so many things you don’t know about or haven’t experienced.  And there is nothing more exhilarating than discovering new aspects of this world – especially those aspects that interest you in particular.

For me, it is theater, beaches, small pubs that sell tea, jacket potatoes, and scones in England, bookstores, roller coasters, and nature adventures like rappelling and zip lining.

What about you? If you are like me when I was in community college, you probably aren’t really sure. You probably think you don’t have the money for that kind of stuff and that during spring, summer, and winter break you’ll need to pick up extra shifts at work just to help make ends meet, let alone have some fun.

Or maybe you’re like the people who think spring break is about the age-old tradition of college debauchery. I’m all about fun, but don’t waste your life or your brain cells trying to fit into this idea of college wastefulness. There is so much more to experience.

Or maybe you’re that community college student who lives at home and just hangs around the house or at the same places with the same friends for those 5 days off.

Don’t be those people. Be spontaneous. Be adventurous. Do something you never thought you would do. This is the time to do it. This is the time to invest in new experiences. Because guess what, from what I’ve learned so far, when you finally “have the money” to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, you probably won’t have the time.

I’m lucky enough that I work at a college so I’m still afforded some of the benefits of time. And so for my spring break I am taking my own advice. While I cannot travel out of the country this week, I am taking this time to explore new things in my very own backyard. I’ve always wanted to go zip lining and found most courses were up north or in Costa Rica. And then I found one just an hour and a half away. So I grabbed a friend and we are going to go flying through the trees this week.

What trees have you always wanted to fly through? What places or things have you always wanted to explore. Just like I ask you when it comes to your dreams and your goals, I ask again…

What are you waiting for?

Traditional university students are typically encouraged to travel and often do so since they live on campus and are able to build these groups of friends who put together road trips or adventures together. Many also have the luxury of not having to work during college.

Most community college students do not have that luxury.


Do not let that be your excuse. Do not let your lack of money keep you from growing and experiencing new adventures. You are worth it. During this formative time in your life it is absolutely necessary that you begin to explore new things and stretch yourself.

So I challenge you to do something exciting this spring break. Plan a road trip with friends. Consider traveling abroad or volunteering abroad.

Just go.

Traveling is not that expensive for students and it is completely worth it. A 10-day trip on the traveling abroad website above for one person is well under $2,000. Take out extra loans if you have to and just invest in yourself. The inspiration you draw from such experiences is vital to growing and developing and finding the motivation to achieve your academic and career goals. If you think your time in college is only about classes and a degree you are sorely mistaken.

In community college, however, it seems most just go to class and get a degree. Choose to be different. Choose to grasp onto the entire college experience early. And make the most of your time off of class to grow and learn in other ways.

I know you probably still have a billion excuses running through your head right now about why you cannot travel or explore new things.  About how you have to work. About how you don’t have the money. That is the song of the lower middle class. It is the song that you will be singing for the rest of your life unless you change your tune now. Trust me, I know that when you grow up poor it is really hard to understand the nature of investment. That often you need to spend first to receive. 

And I have learned that an initial investment in the right stock – YOU – will yield priceless riches of growth, experience, and inspiration.

“I’m through accepting limits
Cause someone says there so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try I’ll never know…

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down”

- Defying Gravity, from Wicked The Musical

1 comment:

  1. How I wish I know what I am reading now back then. I recommend these tips for students alike.


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