Ask any college student around — what’s the most anticipated week of the spring semester (‘the one where it ends’ is not an acceptable answer)? Most of you will be greeted with a resounding response: spring break. A well-deserved (for most) vacation, spring break offers students a short break from classes to spend with friends surrounded by fellow students all dedicated to the art of partying on the beach.
A friendly forewarning from Ubind: this particular art of partying usually guarantees the following — a slight increase in new acquaintances, sunburns and bad decisions followed by a brief, but likely permanent, loss of dignity. Proceed at your own risk.
For readers with unbending principles not willing to put their values or self-respect at risk (we know you’re out there somewhere), I offer you some hope: A fairly recent study conducted by The Nielson Group surveyed almost 1,300 students and found that less than 35 percent took part in a week-long beach party with friends for spring break. Instead, an overwhelming majority of students (around 70 percent) went home to spend the week with family and friends.
Today, more and more young adults are falling into the latter category — do you? If so, I encourage you to study the compiled list below for alternative ideas to spend your spring break in a relaxing but meaningful way. If spring break 2014 has already come and gone for you, no worries! Save this list and plan ahead for next year.
- Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization operating worldwide with the belief that all people should have a safe place to call home. Building and repairing homes all over the world, Habitat for Humanity relies on donations and volunteers to get the job done. Check out the website below and find a Habitat for Humanity near your location!
- United Way Worldwide, another global non-profit organization, works to help people achieve their utmost potential through an education, stable income and leading a healthy life. Offering endless information on how to get involved (visit the link below to learn how to start United Way on your own campus), the website provides an actual program for spring breakers like you!
- Are you an animal lover? The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection program. Serving as a voice for abused and neglected animals, HSUS advocates for better laws, provides animal rescue/emergency response teams and provides shelter and rehabilitation for animals. With countless efforts all over the country, a HSUS branch is likely serving an area near you. Visit the link for volunteer opportunities in your location!
The amount of organizations seeking volunteers is endless and always growing. If you’re interested in volunteering your time over spring break (or any other time) but don’t feel a great connection with the organizations listed above, check out Volunteer Match. Volunteer Match connects volunteers to non-profit organizations by matching their interests and skill set to a specific location. This is an incredible resource — consider sharing it with friends, family or classmates to encourage those around you to get involved!
Everyday is a new opportunity to grow and impact the community around you in ways that can change lives — both yours and those around you. Spring break is a time to break free from the stress and busy schedules of the college semester. Sure, it’s tempting to take advantage of the opportunities to sleep in and spend your days on the couch doing absolutely nothing. Hey — if you’re handling your responsibilities and doing your best in school, you deserve to do just that!
I challenge you to do more this year, though. Use this time to make a difference in someone’s life and consider the possibility that it just might change your life, too. My hope is that a few years down the road, roughly 70 percent of you will look back and reflect on the dignity which was preserved by your friends here at Ubind (yes, that was a questionable attempt at sarcasm).
As for the other 30 percent of you stubborn, strong-willed party animals out there (strong-willed is actually a great characteristic to have!), this is your vacation we’re discussing and you’re all entitled to plan as you please. Some of your most cherished memories will come from the few spring break vacations you will have in college — enjoy them! Student City is a great resource for students planning a group trip offering all-inclusive vacation packages and getaway ideas. Before embarking on your adventure, I urge you to take a minute and check out the following links containing brief information and safety tips for spring breakers.
Happy Spring Break from Ubind. Celebrate safely!