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FALL(ing in love with service) Break

One of the perks of being an AQ Saint that I appreciate most is the break we are given in the middle of our Fall semester.  After eight weeks of classes, homework, and studying, Aquinas students are able to spend a whole week at rest to help prepare for the next eight weeks of the semester.  A lot of students spend their week at home eating delicious meals prepared by their moms, binge watching Netflix shows, and sleeping in.  It’s great.  However, a great alternative to going home or staying on campus is to attend a Service-Learning trip.

During my sophomore year fall break, I went on a Service-Learning trip to West Virginia.  I was able to spend a week at Bethlehem Farm.  The goal of the Bethlehem Farm trip is learn more about sustainable practices and home repair while being a service to other people.  Every day I had the opportunity to do farm work, cook fresh meals, and meet and benefit the people in the surrounding area.  The main service component of the week was helping local residents near Bethlehem Farm prepare their homes for the winter.  This involved insulating houses, re-doing roofs, and installing rails.  My favorite moment from the week was when my group finally finished building a small step porch for a local man’s home.  We had spent all day cutting boards, measuring, and hammering nails in the cold and rain.  It was all worth it to see how happy and thankful the man was for our service.  He kept telling us that it would have taken him days or weeks to finish what we had done in a day.

This year, I have been given another wonderful opportunity to go on a Service-Learning trip for my fall break.  I will be spending my week in Maine doing work at the Acadia National Park.   As much as I love going home and being able to see my mom and sleep in, and as much as I need a good break from all the homework I’ve been keeping up with, I always find myself signing up for these trips.  I do this because I get the most joy when I am using my time to make others happy and to help make the world just a little bit better.

Before coming to Aquinas, I did have a great interest in service.  But, it was spending time at Aquinas and with other students that really made me realize how much I love helping others in ways I didn’t think I could.  The Service-Learning trips I have attended have given me such great memories but an even greater appreciation for my college.  I’m thankful that I am attending a school that offers these kinds of experiences for students and supports my love for others.


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