Oct 112010
Authors: Christine King

Mohandas Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

When was the last time you challenged yourself? When was the last time you worked for a cause you believe in? When was the last time you truly stepped outside your comfort zone to help another person?

One year ago, I was in the same place you are. Bored with the daily monotony of school. Flipping through the paper to see what else besides RamTalk was worth reading.

Suddenly, the opportunity of a lifetime jumped off the page in the form of an article on CSU’s Alternative Spring Break program. And that’s what you are reading right now. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. The chance to participate in an experience that will literally change your life.

CSU’s Alternative Spring Break program inspires tangible human connections through service work. Students choose an area of interest –– from animal rescues to ecotourism to HIV-awareness to homelessness –– and then travel during spring break to work directly with communities affected by that specific issue.

Only human connections inspire people to understand each other and the world around them. Through the total immersion of Alternative Spring Break, students gain unique insights into someone else’s way of life, and the daily struggles and triumphs that come along with it.

Alternative Spring Break offers you a chance to experience the complete satisfaction of helping another. But that satisfaction is only part of what Alternative Spring Break can offer you.

These trips push you beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. They ask you to look critically at yourself, your choices, and the validity of your environment. They ask you to give yourself fully to your cause, even when you may feel emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted.

But with these challenges comes incredible growth. By pushing yourself to dedicate your efforts to someone else, to give a voice to someone who may otherwise be silent, to inspire others to help themselves –– you find out who you truly are.

Sometimes, all anyone needs in this life is another person to believe in them. Be that person, and apply for Alternative Spring Break today. For in the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living from what we get, but we make a life from what we give.”

Christine King is a senior natural resources major. She is leading the Pine Ridge Alternative Spring Break trip in the spring of 2011. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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