How ASB Immersion Changed Me

How ASB Immersion Changed Me

I learned more than I ever did in 12 years of education

Through the cold, tremendously stressed depths of my first spring semester, I found myself yearning for a new adventure. No matter where it was or what it involved, I knew it had to involve service and thus, an impact on society as a whole. At Rollins College, the Immersion program is designed to quite literally "immerse" students in an educative and service-based experience to impact a specific sector of struggle within the world currently. I had applied to four different types of Immersions, all focusing on different, but fundamental, human rights. The Women's Rights Immersion in Philadelphia was on its way (as I had gotten accepted to it), and I knew this would be the beginning of a brand new perspective on the world for me.

Prior to this experience, I had five main thoughts going through my head:

1. Why am I going to a cold city during SPRING BREAK???

2. Can I handle a trip with 15 people I don't even know?

3. I have three midterms the day before I leave.

4. I'm excited to leave this state.

5. What will I learn?

What will I learn. What will I learn. What will I learn.

Before anything, I tried to walk into this Immersion with an open mind, and open heart, and a full luggage-three important characteristics of any immersive experience.

As I got off the plane, my instant reaction was "Wow, this place was really cold." When we reached Philadelphia, the mandatory sight seeing expeditions occurred. This included the Liberty Bell, the Observatory, the copied Declaration of Independence, and Reading Terminal Market. I walked around the city, and was instantly warmed by the love every person living in Philadelphia had to offer. It was like walking in a place I genuinly felt at home, and most importantly a placed of kindness. Individuals were hugging each other in celebration of St.Patrick's Day and sharing food with those who were homeless. We were all happy, in the company of one another. It was in that moment I truly understood what it meant to live in the city of brotherly love, and thus, I felt so warm despite the cold weather for the first time in my life.

Moreover, the service had begun. As a group of fifteen people, we chose to volunteer at three prime locations. The first, was a women's shelter dedicated to individuals who are survivors of domestic violence. Our purpose as volunteers was to be able to make life a bit easier for them, by doing chores, organizing, and cleaning for the location that housed these survivors. Following, we attended a "Women in Transition" workshop, dedicated to understanding and educating ourselves on how difficult the process is for women to transition from a place of danger (where domestic violence occurs) to a place of safety (in which they can recover and build a new life). Afterwards, a political advocacy workshop was conducted to understand domestic violence on the policy level, and help reinforce the need for individuals to get involved on a community level. To top it all off, we volunteered at a homeless shelter on the final day of the Immersion. At the shelter, we replaced ceiling tiles, cleaned the interior of the shelter, and fed the homeless lunch (that same lunch, was consumed by the volunteers themselves).

I learned more in this Immersion than I ever have in the past 12 years of school.

I saw first hand, what it meant to have a home. And I don't just mean an actual shelter, but a person or an organization that can be relied on for help and for actual safety. Moreover, I have never felt more lucky to be alive at this time in my life. It was like walking into another world categorized by individuals who are trying to survive, whereas the rest of society is spending time worrying about minor things (such as, what outfit to wear the next day). It is the 21st century, and the basic human rights of people are being threatened to this day. It was for this reason, that this Immersion propelled me into the direction of my own future.

I want to be a Human Rights Lawyer.

I want to protect the human rights of individuals who don't have a voice, and whose are being silenced by the powerful capitalistic top one percent of the country. Above all, I want to be the person that protects, defends, and radically changes what it means to be alive. I want to be able to give a real home to those struggling to find one. And for it all- all I wish is the satisfaction that someone, anyone at there, is going to sleep feeling better because of what I did for them.

Cover Image Credit: Liberty Surgical

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9 Things That Happen When A Walt Disney World Cast Member Visits Disneyland

I traveled from the most magical place on earth to the happiest place on earth.


As a cast member, you can get free entry to the Disney theme parks. So why not make use of your tickets to head over to Disneyland to see where all the magic originated?

1. Freak out about the history.

Walt Disney LITERALLY walked these grounds. Not that you're freaking out or anything, but you are. Let's talk about Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. Walt Disney literally had a hand in all of it. This is the original park where all the magic was designed and created and you can't help but geek out.

2. Compare the attractions.

They're the same, but they are also different. Let's talk about the facade of The Haunted Mansion. Loving it in New Orleans Square! Thunder Mountain: the same but mirror opposites. Space Mountain you have a riding buddy, but on Splash Mountain you don't. As a Cast Member, you notice all these small differences and can't help but geek out a little when you notice things you like better.

3. Admire the costumes.

They're SO CUTE! When you get used to seeing and wearing the same costumes all the time it is really cool to freak out over the new and unseen ones from a new land.

4. Appreciate the additional discounts.

Food. All the food. I feel like a VIP with all these food discounts!

5. Run back and forth between the parks...because you CAN!

You can get from California Adventure to Disneyland in about one minute! It's so close! What a dream! No busses, no monorail. It's just so convenient! You can hop back and forth all day without losing much time at all!

6. New Orleans Square.

Let's talk about how cool this land is! Walt Disney World is TRUELY missing out here. Without a doubt this is my favorite land in all of the Disney theme parks! I love that the Haunted Mansion is here. I LOVE the Mickey shaped beignets. The shopping is super cute. And you cannot forget about the Blue Bayou inside Pirates of the Caribbean.

7. Test Track<<Radiator Springs Racers.

Beth Monnig

There's literally no contest here. After riding Radiator Springs Racers you'll never care about riding Test Track again. The story is just so immersive on Racers. And you actually are racing someone. It's so cute you could just ride over and over again.

8. Suddenly discover that Disney World is massive in comparison.

Walt Disney World is SO BIG! It really is its own world in comparison to Disneyland. Also, let's talk about the fact that Disneyland is literally right in the middle of LA. There has to be something said for the fact that Walt Disney World is all on its own. The experience is a bit more immersive in that way in Florida.

9. Plan your next trip back.

Beth Monnig

Seriously though. The trip is just so short, even when you spend a couple of days at Disneyland. Despite its smaller size, there is still so much to see and do that you feel like your trip is inevitably too short no matter how long your stay is. The only thing to do is brainstorm to start planning your next trip out!

Walt Disney World will always be home, but as a Disney Cast Member, it's always good to go back to the place where the magic originated.

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A Gap Year Was Just What I Needed

Taking a year off between high school and college was the best thing I could have done for so many reasons.


Everyone around me was buzzing with excitement about their acceptances to their dream university and I didn't feel the same. I was accepted to every school I applied to, but none of them felt right. At my high school, if you didn't go to college, you would have been deemed a failure and that is not what I wanted my reputation to be. When the day came, I sat down at a computer to accept my admission to a college. I was in a panic mode, and I knew that's not what I wanted. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I had no idea if that was where I wanted to be, so I exited the website and came up with a plan.

After graduation, I boarded a flight to Denver, Colorado. I was alone on a plane going 1,000 miles west to a place I've never been. In a short amount of time, I knew I had made the right decision.

I spent eight months in the Rocky Mountains learning how to do the "adult thing." I worked 40+ hours a week in freezing temperatures and a ton of snow, making ten dollars an hour. In a resort town, ten dollars is not a lot of money. I lived on Wonder bread and eggs, I cooked on my hotplate on the top of my mini fridge. I was shown what it's like to work for the things I want, and it taught me to appreciate everything I've always been handed so easily, and that was something I really needed.

Throughout my adventure, I met so many different people in all different stages of life. I think that's the most important aspect of my entire trip. By working and living with people young and old, I learned different skills, living habits, and ways of life which I am forever grateful for. These people had shown me more about life in eight months than I had learned in my entire life, and without this experience, I would have never been introduced to half of the things I was introduced to.

I hiked 14,000-foot mountains, watched the X-Games in Aspen, attended endless concerts, and became a better snowboarder by having the chance to do it every day. Without my friends and taking this leap, I would have been sitting in a classroom wondering what I could have been doing instead. Because of taking time off, I am now back in class, able to focus on my work and doing better than I ever have before.

The most important part of my gap year was finding myself. I proved to myself that I am strong and independent, and I can achieve any goal I set as long as I work hard and have fun along the way. Before I left, I had no idea what I wanted to do or be. Upon my return home, I realized I needed to go to college to receive a higher education to better myself. Having a full-time job and being out in the real world helped me to narrow down what I really want to be and what I want to achieve for myself. I learned how to truly live and that there is no set path I need to take because this is my own life to create.

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