What is alternative spring break?

This past week was spring break for most college students. Most were going to the beach, traveling outside of the country or doing a road trip with their friends. Basically, just having a good time before buckling down for the second half of the semester. For me, I was expecting a boring break, spent at home and watching Netflix for the whole week. However, I didn't really do anything in my first semester besides studying. I decided to do something new and productive with my break. So let's go back to the beginning of college.

Being a first-semester college student, I was trying to be an overachiever in everything. I was trying to grab as many opportunities as I could. However, halfway through the semester, I tried to be rational and only choose the things that I was actually interested in. I did a lot of research about leadership opportunities here at NC State and but ended up coming across something about ASB, known as Alternative Service Break. At first, I was not interested at all because a) I didn't really know if it was worth it, b) the money, and c) I probably wouldn't get in.

However, reading more on the trips and the reason behind these trips pushed me to apply because let's face it, there was no harm in trying. My top three choices were ASB Orlando for Give Kids the World, ASB Guatemala for Health Issues, and ASB San Francisco for Social Justice. I was honestly so nervous, waiting for a grueling three weeks. Then I got the email that I got placed on my first choice trip which was ASB Orlando. I was so excited to get this opportunity to do something new and fun.

After going to multiple meetings, it felt like I wasn't really bonding with the other people on the trip but that started to change when we were locked in Talley after midnight so we could leave all together at 3 am for our 5:20 am flight. Once we landed in Florida, it felt surreal that I was actually there.

Throughout the week, we were volunteering at a place called Give Kids the World Village where kids that have critical illnesses stay for a week and have an all paid expense vacation with their family. They can go to Disney during the day. At night, families would come back to another amusement park and different events are happening. Halloween is happening on one day while Christmas is on another. It's amazing to see how this village is a place where kids get to be kids and not worry about anything else. I interacted with many families and kids that I know that if I wasn't there, they wouldn't be able to eat at the cafeteria, ride the carousel and attractions and play in the arcade.

My group also went to the Ronald McDonald House to bake muffins, cakes, and (burnt) cookies for the families living there and a women's shelter where we cleaned up everything. During our downtime, we all got to bond with each other like playing Resistance, making pancakes, having reflection time, and going to Disney World. I have never felt included and welcomed into a group like this one. I'm so glad that I pushed myself to do this trip because I don't think that I can even describe how this experience has impacted me.

Also, I want to thank my group leader, Grace for picking me for this trip and making this trip unforgettable. Shout out to the rest of this awesome group: Darby, Kalene, Kathryn, Neill, James, Sarah Ann, Carter, Adriana, Ruby, and Inayyanoor.

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