Reflections of Spring Break 2011

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Rachael Pocklington
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Students find a passion for helping others.

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For my spring break this year, I wanted to do the exact same thing I did last spring break (no, it did not involve a couch, remote control and junk food). Last year, I traveled to Jacksonville Beach, Florida, with ten other Georgia Tech students and two staff advisors to work on a week-long Habitat For Humanity project. I enjoyed it so much last year that I wanted to give other students the opportunity to experience joy in doing something meaningful over the break, rather than simply lounging on the beach all day.

Janna San Juan
Second Year, Environmental Engineering Major

For my spring break this year, I wanted to do the exact same thing I did last spring break (no, it did not involve a couch, remote control and junk food). Last year, I traveled to Jacksonville Beach, Florida, with ten other Georgia Tech students and two staff advisors to work on a week-long Habitat For Humanity project. I enjoyed it so much last year that I wanted to give other students the opportunity to experience joy in doing something meaningful over the break, rather than simply lounging on the beach all day.

I co-led this year’s Beaches Habitat trip with two friends whom I met during last year’s trip. This year I spent the week with twenty-two other Georgia Tech students and two staff members working on shingles, and learning how to properly use nails, hammers, and a nail gun. It’s amazing what college students can accomplish outside the classroom when they’re given hands-on work. One of the trip participants told me that she thought it was cool that she was able to see the fruits of her labor-the harder she worked, the more the house looked like a home. It was not difficult to get the students on board either. On the fourth day of working on the roof, a student suggested that we stay a half-hour longer than the usual work-day schedule so that we could finish shingling the roof of a single-story home. With careful measuring and zero time wasted, we had accomplished our goal and the whole group had a great feeling of satisfaction.

The work we completed on the roof that day could not have been accomplished without the help of our crew leaders. These are the people at work sites who can tell you what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. Something I learned on this trip is the importance of patience and friendliness from any kind of leader. At the site I worked at, we had two incredible crew leaders. Their sense of humor made working in the hot sun bearable when on the roof. Their kindness showed me the power of a good attitude and the effect it has on anything. At times when I would look around and see the crew leaders showing my peers good techniques, I thought about how easy it would be for the crew leaders to accomplish the tasks themselves, rather than taking the time to teach us students how to properly use the tools. Whenever one of us placed a nail too low on a shingle or caused a soffit to sag, the crew leaders didn’t even hint at exasperation. “Everything is fixable” is what one of the crew leaders would often say.

As we were building homes, we were building friendships as well. Many of our students came from different backgrounds but once we all realized how much we all cared about accomplishing the same common goal every day, the differences disappeared. As days went on, there were plenty of inside jokes, spontaneous dance parties and friendships being formed every day.

Although a week does not sound like a lot of time, the skills that we learned and the friendships we made during that time will last a long while. I know that every person on the trip had an amazing time-I’m excited to see what will happen in the spring breaks to come!

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Parent and Family Programs

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Institute and Campus, Student and Faculty
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Keywords
College of Management, Melanue Cols
Status
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: May 1, 2011 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:11pm