Spring is upon campus, and every student has spring break on his or her mind. Despite the intermittent gorgeous days that Minnesota has been blessed with lately, many St. Olaf students are looking forward to getting far away from the Hill later this month.
Ali Dowe '05 will be spending the week in Paris with her roommate and another friend. "We are a bit uneasy about going and not knowing any French, but I'm not too concerned," she said. Dowe's parents are anxious too, but for another reason.
"Our parents are a bit nervous about us traveling because we are Americans and Americans are a bit unpopular in the world right now. We have decided to just tell people that we are from Canada. It's horrible to be ashamed of being an American," Dowe said.
Dowe added that she and her friends got great deals through UnitedVacations.com. "I would recommend that site for anyone looking to go to certain places in Europe," she said.
Other students are opting for warmer climates in hopes of soaking up the sun and breaking out the shorts that have been hibernating for months. "I'm going to Florida with my family," Meg McWilliams-Piraino '05 said. Another student seeking the sun, Katie Rusch '05, is going to San Francisco.
Some peoples spring break will be spent fairly close to campus. Jacquie Spielmann '05 said, "I'm going to New Brighton, Minnesota. Does that count?"
Aside from family vacations, there are other traveling options for St. Olaf students. About 90 students will be leaving the state for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) service projects. There will be three separate trips this year to Mississippi, New York and South Dakota. The Mississippi group will be doing restoration; those visiting New York will be working in soup kitchens and picking up the streets; and the South Dakota group will work at an Indian reservation.
In years past, FCA planned only two spring break trips for a total of about 60 people. However, the South Dakota trip was added this year due to increased student interest.
Despite these distance-bound travelers, the most common answer to inquiries about spring break destinations was a sluggish "I'm going home." Many students plan to visit their families or earn money working over break. "I'm going to stick around here and see if I can pick up more hours at the Ole Store. I need money," Annie Erickson '03 said. Other students are hoping to fill their time with recreational activities. "I plan to do lots of snowboarding over break," Kate Barnett '05 said. If you are still a bit depressed about not going anywhere for spring break, dont fret! There are several alternative break ideas that could prove to be a good time. How about a visit to your grandparents or other relatives that you never see? Or staying in a hotel with some friends just for fun? You could also give yourself a makeover, volunteer somewhere, or become an instant movie critic by seeing every new flick that is out.
Of course, theres always the infamous road trip. There are also many things to do in the cities, just 45 minutes from the Hill. Ice-skating at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis, the Viking exhibit at the Science Museum, and the IMAX theater all offer fun activities in the Twin Cities. If you're feeling adventurous, you could play laser tag in the Mall of America, go to Grand Slam in Eagan for some bumper car action, or go to Gameworks in Minneapolis. There are plenty of celebrities to track down around here as well: Josh Hartnett, Prince, Kevin Garnett and Wally Szerbiak, just to name a few. And if all else fails, do some homework!