» patrick pierce – ppierce3@my.apsu.edu

Spring break is the most anticipated week for college students. This is a week when a college student mentally pictures beaches and sun, having a good time and simply being away from anything related to school work. It’s the idea of “getting away from it all.”

I view spring break a little bit differently. Yes, I too am glad to be out of classes for a week, but I don’t consider beaches and partying as my spring break of choice.

In fact, a beach trip might be fun and relaxing, but I consider such a trip to be unproductive. I don’t gain any knowledge — nothing to really get out of a trip to the beach, other than a bad sunburn. Instead, I suggest an alternative to the typical beach trip — something that can be more productive to you.

There are two alternative spring breaks a college student can choose that are productive to the student. The first option would be simply stay away from beaches. Instead, localize a trip to a state park or enjoy the surrounding areas where you live. By doing this, you greatly decrease the amount of money you would be spending.

As transportation needs increase, so will the price of fuel required to travel. Several hours in a vehicle isn’t the best way to spend the day either, while a local state park would be a couple hours of travel time. Flying isn’t any better financially.

Avoid all of this unnecessary hassle and spend a week in the mountains or a state park. I guarantee the results to be far more rewarding, and believe it or not, you might learn something new.

The other option is slowly becoming more popular in this day in age. This option would be to volunteer time to an organization, gaining experience, knowledge and the rewarding feeling of accomplishment.

You might be asking, “why would I want to ever consider volunteering during spring break? That’s blasphemy.” Volunteering is sought by graduate programs, so if you have an interest in grad school, you would already be one step ahead of someone who has never volunteered. More importantly, however, you would be doing something meaningful for someone or something around the world.

There are several programs you can apply for as an alternative spring break. In fact, many universities design programs as alternative spring breaks for students.

APSU has offered alternative spring break trips since 2009. These trips are opportunities for students to visit new places, meet and work with new people and help individuals in need. This year, APSU is going to Outer Banks, N.C. to volunteer at the Hatteras National Seashore and Jockeys Ridge State Park, while learning history of the area, all at a mere $65.

I view it this way; I can spend several hundred dollars to travel to Florida, sit on the beach with thousands of other college students, finding the worst hotel available due to space and financial restraints and not getting anything productive out of it.

Conversely, I can spend a minimal amount of money to travel, volunteer in a state park which will help with grad school, enjoy the outdoors, learn something new and make a difference in the world. I’m no genius, but this seems a bit self-explanatory. TAS