Honors College Students Share their Spring Break Experiences

In a showcase of three distinct journeys, Honors College students recount their spring break adventures. Their stories testify to the varied ways in which students seek enlightenment, growth, and connection during their breaks from academic pursuits. 

March 28, 2024
Spring Break Stories

Caroline Burt | Baylor Interdisciplinary Core

“This year, I was looking to enjoy my Spring Break and do so in a way that would honor the Lord, which led me to get connected to Beach Reach through my church, Highland Baptist.

“The experience was one of the most challenging and rewarding that I have had in my faith walk. On the trip, I struggled to feel worthy to share the hope that I have in Christ because I became keenly aware of my sinful thoughts and my fears about not having the words to say. I also had never been exposed to the types of brokenness we encountered in South Padre. Yet even amid my insecurities, God used this experience to help me lean into his love for me and the love of my van mates. I was blessed to share a van with people who were committed to loving and uplifting each other the whole way through the trip! It was beautiful to see God working both in the lives of the people we were reaching and in the lives of the Beach Reachers. God showed me that it is His mercy and grace that transform lives, not my qualifications or competencies. I am so thankful that I was able to go!

“I would advise students who are looking to participate in Beach Reach not to limit God's power in their minds! God can and will use you if you are open to His will. Know that Beach Reach will be fun, but it will also challenge you in ways you may not expect. Be open to God's promptings! He may lead you to talk to people you did not expect to interact with. Be mindful of safety, but trust that He is with you and that He will honor your willingness to answer His call.”

Ian Stahl | Honors Program

“This spring break I chose to travel to Ireland because my girlfriend, Olivia Calusinski (who is a University Scholars major), was participating in the pre-health in Dublin program. While planning my visit, we were stunned by the relatively cheap rates to fly to other European countries, which inspired us to take a weekend trip to Bordeaux, France!

“My favorite aspect of Irish culture was the interconnectedness of it. Olivia's biology professor was Italian, we met a German man while waiting for the train, and even some of the stores we visited were staffed by French people. Dublin itself is a very international city, so it was super exciting to see the blend of unique cultures.​

“When we visited Bordeaux, we went to a plethora of gothic cathedrals. It was amazing to watch as the rows of buildings would part to reveal a cathedral of beautiful arches and gorgeous stained glass. We also found it really interesting how most of the original architecture was preserved over the centuries, whereby a beautiful building of intricate arches and ornate windows would host our American Golden Arches (McDonalds) inside.

“My favorite aspect of French culture would have to be the food. Olivia and I had gone into the trip with a list of French pastries we wanted to try, including a baguette, croissant, crepe, and canelé (indigenous to Bordeaux itself). By the end of our visit, we had tried all the pastries on our list (including a chocolatine). Each of them tasted amazing and it was incredible to see the emphasis on freshly baked food in Bordeaux.

“If I were to advise traveling abroad for Spring Break, I would say to try and take in the sights. Explore the sites! The food is all very good, so make sure to try as much as you can!”

Alexa Mendes | Baylor Interdisciplinary Core

“I have been involved at the St. Peter Catholic Student Center since my freshman year at Baylor. I’ve had the opportunity to be on the leadership team for a retreat (Bear Awakening) that served around 160 people, serve as a lector during Sunday Masses, and participate in a variety of other ministries. St. Peter also has a presence with the international organization Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), and I’ve been involved in attending and leading Bible studies, participating in discipleship, and traveling across the country to attend the 20,000-person SEEK conferences.

“When I heard that the FOCUS team was leading a pilgrimage to Rome, I was thrilled. I had never been to Italy, and I love to travel. (I’m a Study Abroad Student Leader and I studied abroad twice: one summer in Spain, and one summer in Argentina.) Since I’m a senior, I also thought spending my spring break deepening my relationship with the Lord would be a perfect way to strengthen my foundation of faith before I enter the corporate world upon graduating. “Additionally, I knew that I would be accompanied by 24 of my best friends from St. Peter. To embark on this faith-based adventure with my closest friends was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (and a different experience from my study abroad trips). In a way, I felt like going on a pilgrimage to St. Peter in Rome was my perfect St. Peter Catholic Student Center capstone experience.  

“I’ll forever cherish so many unforgettable moments from this pilgrimage. From finding a hidden chapel with religious sisters singing acapella during Adoration, and receiving a blessing from the Pope, to knee-crawling up the steps where Jesus was condemned by Pilate, and seeing physical relics from the Passion (including thorns from the crown of thorns, one of the nails that pierced Jesus, and the pillar where Jesus was scourged), so many memories defined this experience. 

“It has been so beautiful to encounter the Lord through how He was working in my fellow pilgrims’ hearts throughout the trip. Now, we’re bringing our overflowing hearts back to St. Peter Catholic Student Center to share with our entire community. The fruits from our pilgrimage are just beginning.