Not a typical spring break

Spring break? More like spring broke

Like most students, my bank account is pretty drained from the costs of college.

The lack of funds posed an issue when trying to make plans for my spring break. As a senior in college, I wanted to travel for my time off since I’ve never been on an official, typical “spring break.” Last semester, my classmates and I were posed the offer of going to Guyana, South America during our week off in March.

We were given details about the trip far in advance and were told that the trip would entail us dental hygiene students providing free oral healthcare and education to the Guyanese. We would be working 10 to 13 hours each day, sitting on buckets with headlamps on, cleaning people’s mouths.

Dental students from the University of Michigan will be performing extractions and other procedures. While people are waiting in line, they will receive free Bibles, and local pastors will be preaching about God’s love.

The total cost of the trip is definitely out of my budget. In order to go, I needed to raise at least 90 percent of the funds. After sending out support letters, I was shocked by the response. Within about four weeks, the generosity of others had made this trip possible.

This isn’t the typical, care-free spring break lying on a beach that I had always envisioned to have my senior year of college. The last semester of my college career has been stressful; however, over the years I have learned that one of the best ways to manage stress is to take the focus off of myself.

Helping others in turn helps me to realize that my problems aren’t as big as I once thought. While I struggle to pay for higher education, others are struggling to afford to survive.

The cost for the Guyanese to get their teeth cleaned is equal to about a year’s worth of wages. By going on the trip to Guyana, I hope to become more appreciative of life here in the United States. While often times expensive, I hope I come home grateful for the access to care in the U.S.

This spring break is a chance for me to give back and share love on an international level.

I don’t have to be rich in order to affect other people in a positive manner. I hope my atypical spring break has a lasting impact on people’s lives, and on my own.

  • Elizabeth

    Sweetie, did no one tell you this is a published newspaper, not a LiveJournal? Is your arm tired from patting yourself on the back and getting paid for writing about it?

  • Good Job

    Good article- It’s nice to know there are students at Ferris who care about helping those who are less fortunate.

  • Steve Fox

    I agree with “Good Job” below. I hope one other student reads this and decides to do something for others instead of spending a couple grand on a blowout trip to South Padre Island.

    I especially like the perspective of this line, which I can also do a better job of remembering in my life: “Helping oth­ers in turn helps me to real­ize that my prob­lems aren’t as big as I once thought. While I strug­gle to pay for higher edu­ca­tion, oth­ers are strug­gling to afford to survive.”

    • Elizabeth

      I’ll be honest, I find it strange whenever the staff or adviser comments on the page. This seems to be a new problem. I’m almost positive that most press entities don’t typically allow the author to make comments directly. I’m not sure how the adviser role fits in.

      I suppose since the Torch has been really sliding downhill this year you need to get positive feedback from somewhere. Getting positive comments from the adviser on the webpage is like having your mom give you an award for being the best kid.

      • Steve Fox

        Thanks for your feedback “Elizabeth.” However, you might want do do some more research. In fact, the trend has been for newspapers to encourage more involvement and feedback in the comments – engaging in positive discussions.

        You can check for yourself by jumping on mLive and seeing reporter/editor comments showing up in just about every situation including here:

        mLive even has a Community Engagement Specialist:

        The ideal is when everyone is willing to identify themselves and have constructive conversations. Obviously, that does not always happen when anonymous posting is allowed.

        In fact, many newspapers are going away from allowing anonymous posting: Requiring accountability for all comments. To this point, the Torch has leaned toward the idea that all communication is valuable and continues to allow anonymous posting in hopes that ideas and conversation will be more robust.

        Any time I post, I make sure to identify myself. No hiding.

        And I stand by my comment: I appreciated the writer’s personal perspective.

        • Elizabeth

          I didn’t say anything about the fact that you identify yourself. I just said that I find it weird. If you agree that this particular article (which reeks of “smug,” I might add), that is your opinion. I think the Torch is a pathetic shell of what it once was. That is my opinion.

          The fact that the reporters have continuously needed to show up on their own articles and defend themselves tells me that stronger copy editing standards need to be upheld. I assume you have some of those on staff? They may want to pick up the pace.

          Yes, I hope some of the shallow students try to do something less shallow, but considering there was more of a social outrage from Jax Anger’s article on hipsters than there was on her article about child slavery, I wouldn’t expect much from FSU.

          • Steve Fox

            Thanks for your input. You may have personal reasons for your opinions. Fine. I disagreed with you earlier and that seemed unacceptable.
            I encourage debate and conversation – your comments are welcome here.
            I am at times disappointed with the lack of interest on campus, however I am as impressed and proud as ever of the work the Torch does. This is a great staff doing excellent work.
            I’m not aware of any substantial row created by the Words at War column (not article) about hipsters. Maybe that is happening elsewhere….
            Apparently, you are tuned in at a different level. Please, share with everyone and feel free to share your actual identity and motives. It’s helpful to discussion.

            • Elizabeth

              My identity really has nothing to do with this. I’m not trying to hide it, but I won’t spell it out for you either. I’m an alumni of the university.
              It was not a “substantial” row regarding hipsters, but I guess if “substantial” means “lawsuit” then no. This was not “substantial.”

              • Steve Fox

                I suppose I would disagree regarding your identity; it is relevant. As a former Torch staff member and Ferris alum, you are likely aware that it is considered disingenuous in the journalism industry to hide behind the anonymous veil.
                Lawsuits are substantial. However, hipsters are not a legally protected group in our country I’m not really concerned about those columns. If the Torch is involved in a lawsuit, I’m sure readers will be made aware – there have been none to my knowledge.
                Threats are not uncommon in this industry.
                Please feel free to contact myself or Editor in Chief Mary Benson if you would like to discuss your concerns further – or have real suggestions for the paper.

                • Elizabeth

                  Steve, I like how you act so proud of yourself. You must be new to the internet.

                  And that’s right folks! Even the former Torch staff members think the paper is failing hard. I stand by that statement. Hipsters? The same stupid spring break articles? Complaining that the Oscars don’t nominate comedy films? Can’t wait for the obligatory fail filled summer edition where no one gets their crap together and the few remaining summer staff rush around looking for photos. Clearly it is a surprise every year!

                  Got some great candidates for the E-Chief position? No? Why is that not a surprise either? Probably because no one wants to head up this mess.

                  Go Apathy U!

                  • Josh

                    Thanks “Elizabeth” for pointing out Christa’s flaws. We’re so grateful to have someone like you who knows everything.

  • Rachel


    I don’t know what your personal vendetta against the Torch is (or maybe this is not the case, I’m simply going off what I have read), but it saddens me that you attack my colleague’s completely uncontroversial column that expresses her excitement to go on this mission trip and which calls Ferris students to a more fulfilling, selfless spring break. If you know anything about the writer, she is one of the kindest, humblest people I know, and truly has a heart for what she is doing. You certainly have the right to your opinion. That is the beauty of freedom of speech. But I find your comments are a waste of energy–they are petty and hurtful. You speak eloquently and seem to be an intelligent individual. Use your knowledge and views to have honest discussion on controversial pieces–not to attack a COLUMN encouraging a population that is often very self-absorbed to move beyond their egocentricity, just as this writer hopes to do in her own life. No where does she claim to be better than her peers. If anything, she reveals a desire to change and grow as a person and to realize the own selfishness in her own life through experiencing the lives of the people she will serve.

    In reference to your constant referral to [“smugness”] and [“pride”] in regards to my advisor and the author of this piece, I find it very interesting that you, as a former Torch member, have decided the Torch is spiraling downward, now that you aren’t around that is. Something to think about–we often displace our own character flaws onto others.

    Constructive criticism is always welcome at the Torch. If you have ideas for improvement, we would love to hear them in a professional, positive manner. We are always looking to improve our publication, represent Ferris State University well, and provide our readership with great stories and columns.

    • Guelettis

      Yes, of course. With the power of JESUS we can all be made whole. I get it.

      I still stand by the fact that the Torch has declined. It hasn’t been since I left. I’m not so arrogant to assume that. It was working on it right as I got there. Go look at some of the old papers and see what I mean. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

      Did you look? You can see The Torch once wrote on very controversial and thought provoking subjects. Look at some of Omar’s work. Now The Torch writes about hipsters and the fact that Seth Rogan isn’t an Oscar winner. Wow. That’s a long way to fall in a few short years. At least The Torch has the few articles about child slavery or other hard hitting subjects, but the community is RARELY engaged.

      I’m also afraid that well thought out rebuttals do little. No one really responds, and when they do it’s usually a “Nu-uh, free speech” response. That gets REALLY old. Yes, I can write a letter to the editor, but that doesn’t do much either.

      Please don’t assume I am displacing my character flaws onto the school newspaper. That’s just insulting. I have much better things to project my character flaws onto, such as my daily life or my relationship with my parents.