Consider travel, volunteer work over Spring Break

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By Erica Hengelfelt, Contributor

A week of the warmest weather of the year is on the horizon and you have no academic obligations to keep you from enjoying it.

Contrary to popular belief, there has never been a right or wrong way to spend this glimpse of heaven we call ‘Spring Break.’ Make a list, roll some dice or flip a coin to decide on a perfect spring break that’s as unique as the seashells on a sandy beach. 

Unfortunately, there’s always the possibility that your Spring Break plans will go awry. Murphy’s Law cruelly reminds us of fate’s tendency toward chaos: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

In my freshman year, the only plans I made were to go home, see a few friends from high school and catch up on lost sleep. Things took a sour turn. By the end of break, I had a cast on my dominant arm and I had attended funerals for my grandmother and boyfriend’s grandfather. There was simply no way to plan how many tears I’d be shedding.

The best thing to do in such a case is to remain open-minded and relax.  That’s what Spring Break is supposed to be all about, right?  No matter how much time and energy you spend planning or how many precautions and preparations you make, anything can happen.

Last year, I was determined to cash in some Spring Break karma. I planned a road trip with my roommate to visit her relatives in Phoenix, Ariz. Along the way, we ran into a major snowstorm in New Mexico, something we never expected. 

Keeping the previously mentioned advice in mind, we relaxed and spent the night in Santa Fe, N.M. The next morning, the snow melted and we were on our way and on schedule. Blue skies and sunny weather met us at our destination.

Though traveling can be enjoyable, sometimes your worn out car or miserable bank account can keep you from venturing too far from home. Volunteering can be a rewarding and exhilarating approach to the week, not to mention the perfect way to keep your brain from going to mush from hours of video games and Facebook.  

Countless volunteer opportunities exist within the community. This year, I plan to spend time volunteering with a program for adults with special needs at the camp I worked at over the summer. 

If you’re overwhelmed by all the possibilities, consider participating in UNO’s Seven Days of Service. The university pre-arranges tasks for students to complete in the community and provides lunch and a T-shirt for participants.

My final bit of advice: own your Spring Break. Try something new. Go someplace you’ve always wanted to see. See friends you haven’t spoken to in months. Soak up the sun. Volunteer in the community.  Most importantly, kick homework to the curb for the week and relax! Though you get more than one Spring Break in college, hopefully it’s less than five, so spend each one in the best way possible for you.

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