Alpha Chi Omega - Starting Conversations

The official blog of Alpha Chi Omega

A Well-Deserved Break

AllisonBy Allison Kerler
Gamma Nu, San Diego State University

College students usually run at a million miles an hour, but the one thing we forget is to save some time to relax the mind and body. I’m not saying it’s easy, especially when we are always cramming “one more thing” into our schedule, but it is vital. Being in Jamaica I have come to realize just how important a little down time is. Working at the Church Hill Primary school on Monday and Tuesday was some of the most rewarding service work I have ever done, but also some of the most physically draining. I have played competitive soccer since I was 6 years old and can easily say I have never been this sore in my life, but I strangely enjoy every ounce of pain that I have. Knowing how much of an impact we have made at the school is worth not having feeling from my head to my toes. It is really amazing to see how much a single coat of paint can transform a house, and one of my favorite parts of working at Church Hill was all of the progress that we made in such a short period of time. From walking off the bus at Church Hill on Monday to leaving the school on Tuesday to go home, it is incredible to see how much was completed in a short two day period. I even left with a fun souvenir: tons of paint in my hair.

Going into today, I was a little disappointed at first that we were not heading back to Church Hill. After seeing the impact we had made, I wanted to stay for another day and continue painting rather than take this day to go visit the YS Falls, even though it did sound like a lot of fun. I guess I was on a bit of a “service high.” Of course the falls sounded exciting, but being on a service trip I wanted to spend all of my time serving the Jamaican community because we were only here for a short week. Today I was proven wrong. Throughout my youth I was always going full speed. One activity after another, class after class, until finally I’d be burnt out and unable even to leave my bed. That is why days like these are vital for my health (and quite frankly sanity). I could not be more grateful for this day, in preparation for the rest of the week.

Today, we visited the YS Falls, where we were able to go zip lining, rope swinging and swimming in the falls. Although we have been spending tons of time together as a group, it was nice getting to know everyone outside of the work scene or a simple side table conversation. Spending the whole day relaxing and exploring was a well-deserved break and just what we needed. Together we helped many of our sisters conquer their fear of heights, including my own, and even witnessed one of the girls getting body slammed into a tree after “coming in too hot” on the zip line. (Don’t worry, she is not injured and will be able to continue the rest of the service trip.) I was also able to spend some quality time today with Bailey, Vivian, Caitlyn and Gretchen, which was very special to me. Rope swinging in the pool at the foot of the waterfall with them was an absolute blast.

We ended the day by relocating to Treasure Beach, about two hours away from Negril, back where we started our week. Getting settled in Taino Cove, our new hotel, we spent our free time before dinner continuing to bond. Right after dinner, our power went out in the hotel. Although loosing Wi-Fi would seem like the end of the world for 18 teenage girls, we decided to go downtown and get ice cream instead. Making the most of the situation, going out for ice cream was one of the highlights of the day. It just reminded me of how easy-going everyone was and how accepting we were of every situation in which we found ourselves. It also opened our eyes to see just how fortunate we are to have some of the luxuries we take for granted in America; a power-outage is not an unusual occurrence in Jamaica. Sitting around one big table eating our ice cream, we continued to experience new friendships and share new stories that strengthened our bond as a group. By the end of the day, I knew at least one funny and one extremely personal fact about everyone in the room, which I wouldn’t have imagined knowing on Saturday when we first arrived.

Today showed me exactly why I joined such an amazing organization. Sisterhood. Although we all come from different chapters, different home towns and different backgrounds, we are all part of one organization and share a lot of the same common interests. I really enjoyed building life-long relationships with these amazing girls and being able to laugh with all of them, maybe even at some of them, today. Lol. Love you all.

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