I spent my Spring Break on an Alternative Spring Break trip, during which I was a part of a ten-person group that traveled to Natchez, Mississippi. Our purpose? To complete a weeklong service project in the Natchez Children’s Home, a community resource that specializes in assisting victims of childhood sexual abuse. I still can’t believe that we’ve completed our first week back since our trip ended, and I’m seriously missing our little ASB family.
This trip was truly life changing, and it taught me a lot about myself and the world around me. Ever been involved in ASB? Considering an ASB trip for next year? You might learn some of the same lessons that I did, such as…
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
This goes both ways: for the people you travel with, and the place you travel to. Before my service group left for Mississippi, most of us knew each other, but in entirely different contexts. By the time we were ready to come back to Georgia, however, we had become super close. Together, we navigated Natchez, confronted serious topics, shared joys and sorrows, and made great memories. Sure, everyone in our group was different, but spending so much time together allowed us to get to know one another aided by a love a service and without the stress of school getting in the way.
Keep an open mind
Before our trip, we had been educated about the area we were going to do service in. According to our site leader, it’s reportedly one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. That being said, we were initially uneasy about being there. There wasn’t the kind of openness and dialogue about race and history that we were used to, and that meant for some amusing, awkward, and uncomfortable moments. However, once we learned more about the people we were working with and helping, learned more about their history, and listened to their individual stories, we learned to see them for more than we originally concluded.
Be critical and reflective
Natchez, Mississippi is extremely different than the place where I grew up. Most of us had never experienced things we did on the trip and needed time to process everything—that’s where reflection comes in. At the end of every day, our ASB group did reflection exercises during which we analyzed what happened during the day and how we felt about it. Sound too touchy-feely? It was actually very helpful for understanding your perception of the world around you, which will change from an experience like this. We compared stories, experiences, and research, and with every new perspective presented, we got a chance to understand Natchez, our service, each other, and ourselves a little bit more.
Want to see more? Search Instagram using the hashtag, #servingscotties, to see more Agnes Scott ASB action for yourself!