When spring blink isn’t a break

By Katie Crabb | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Two of the most revered words in a college student’s vocabulary are “Spring Break.” For Flagler students these two words change to “Spring Blink.” Everyone on campus cherishes those four, five if you skip Wednesday of course, days of vacation during the crunch of the semester.

Some students take this as a time to head to South Beach, some to catch up on the many hours of lost sleep they’ve accumulated over the course of the semester, and some to get ahead on the piles of homework they know await them in the last few weeks of the semester. Most of us, at the very least, want to find an escape from learning for a little while, to give our minds room to breathe.

In past years I’ve been one to catch up on sleep. This year however, a friend and I decided to take a trip to South Carolina and visit another Flagler student at her home. One of our major plans had been to take a day trip to Hilton Head and enjoy the beaches there, away from school, away from learning, able to be carefree for at least a few days.

The impending cold front did not agree with our plans.

With temperatures in the 60’s and the wind chill in the 50’s, our beach plans were out. Left to decide what to do with our time, we decided to make the trip to Charleston to visit the aquarium and Fort Sumter, as well as historic downtown.

Not exactly what one envisions when spring break comes to mind.

But as fate would have it, I loved Charleston from the moment I set foot in it. A southerner myself, I appreciated all the beautiful architecture around me, and just the general culture of the place. Normally I appreciate learning about history, but after being constantly swamped with reading and writing for weeks on end, I wasn’t sure if I would absorb anything. But when I went to Fort Sumter, I knew I was wrong. It had been a frigid ferry ride over because of the wind, but it was well worth it.

It was an astounding experience to set eyes on the location where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Learning of the conditions the soldiers experienced during the period made the fort more shocking; sometimes they were trapped for days with little to no supplies, including food and water, not to mention the severely cramped living spaces.

To see one of the most historic sights in our nation’s history had a profound effect on me. As I explored the nooks and crannies of the fort, I pictured everything from the soldiers and their daily lives around the fort to the bombings that took place toward the end of the war. The fear that must have captured the hearts of the men was unimaginable. My spring break had turned into an unforgettable experience.

Learning about their plight made me worry a little less about the burdens I had back in St. Augustine. A research paper on John Milton seemed like nothing compared to their sacrifice. So, in trying to escape learning on spring blink, I actually learned something instead. That’s ironic, isn’t it? Learning, it seems, is inescapable.

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