Students "spring" for spontaneity this March

Students Jordan Smith, Virginia Coleman and Esther St. Pierre took their own Spring Break.

The cancellation of spring break was a big blow to students at Mississippi State University. Thankfully, MSU made the tough call before most students had the chance to dream up any plans. However, as the time for spring break is passing, students are growing restless, and weekend trips are becoming quite popular.

Maddie Bender, a freshman at MSU majoring in history, went on a day trip to Birmingham, Alabama, a couple weeks ago. She was accompanied by her friends Mae Bogran, a freshman majoring in management and Isabella Walker, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering.

"We went to Whataburger, Dunkin' Donuts and Target," Bender said.

Bender, Bogran and Walker are all from Texas. Their Birmingham trip was centered on some of their favorite places to frequent back home. They wanted to get the real hometown experience without the long drive back to Texas. The girls enjoyed their day trip immensely and highly recommended doing it, although they warned the traffic was hectic.

Bender said she recommends students find something to keep them afloat and help their mental health, especially since there is not a long break around the corner.

"Find a lifeboat. Mine is learning things," Bender said. 

Bender and Bogran also do yoga at the Sanderson Center once a week together. The two said exercise is very important to stay both physically and mentally healthy.

"Releasing endorphins once a week is important for my mental health," Bender said.

While their Birmingham trip was planned a week or so in advance, others are taking spontaneous trips out of the blue.

Anna Beth Gandy, a freshman criminology and psychology major, went on a day trip to the beach recently.

"One night I was feeling extra spontaneous," Gandy said. "I was with my friend, and I wanted to do something. So I said, 'Let's go to the beach.'"

Gandy and her friends quickly came up with a plan and headed off to the beach around 1 a.m. but not without an unexpected setback.

"My car actually got towed right before we were planning on leaving," Gandy said.

Unfortunately, all their supplies were in Gandy's car, as she was going to be the driver. Thankfully, they were able to get the car back, but they missed the sunrise on the beach. However, according to Gandy, the group still had a lot of fun.

"We stayed there all day," Gandy said. "We split the gas, and we ate good food. It was inexpensive, which was good because we are all broke."

Gandy said she was terribly upset at the cancellation of spring break.

"You always hear about the first spring break in college, and I was excited to get to do that with my new friends," Gandy said.

Gandy highly recommends taking a spontaneous trip to the beach or anywhere else. She shared it was a fun way to get out and have a break. As for her mental health without spring break, Gandy shared her methods for coping.

"I make sure and rest and re-energize myself and focus on things that are important," Gandy said. "Checking in on my friends and spending time with them is something I make a point to do."

Esther St. Pierre, a sophomore majoring in kinesiology, also went on a beach trip.

"I went to Key West," St. Pierre said. "I camped with three friends from Friday to Monday. I kind of wish I was still there."

St. Pierre and her friends were originally going to Texas, but because of the effects of the ice storm, they decided it might be wise to cancel. Instead, Key West, Florida, was offered up as a possibility.

"It was very spontaneous," St. Pierre said. "It is the kind of trip that I live for."

The four girls camped out on the beach and cooked on a camp stove, eating out only once the entire trip. There was live music on the beach, and the girls even made some friends from Minnesota who helped them set up their tent.

St. Pierre was initially pretty upset with the cancellation of spring break. While spring break is thought of as a beach trip and parties all week, St. Pierre wanted the break for her mental health as well.

Those looking for a break might consider a spontaneous trip to the beach, a day trip to Birmingham, Alabama, or even just an afternoon at the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge 20 minutes down the road. Other options include Nashville, Tennessee or Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

"Starkville is a really small town. Honestly, you have to take advantage of the good of that," St. Pierre said. "It challenges you to think outside of the box. For a day trip, go to the Refuge and kayak, or have a picnic or walk around downtown or on campus. There are little hidden gems everywhere."

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