Spring Break Destination: Harrisonburg

As we all try to get settled back here at JMU after we all took our separate journeys this past week I thought that you might want to try to mentally extend your break for as long as possible. Enjoy the recollections of our very talented writer and VP Maeve Rafferty’s fond memories of her March adventures during her time in college.

I can’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy when I hear of the exotic places some friends are going for break.  A few girls are headed to the islands- an all inclusive resort, others headed to key west, some jumped on cheap deals for a cruise, one friend is flying to Africa {take me with you!}.  And me…where will I be?  Right here, in the lovely Harrisonburg… Unless, I decide spur of the moment to book that flight to San Diego where my cousin invited me to stay with her and soak up the west coast.  I can picture it now…toes in the sand that I have not seen in what feels like years because my warm boots have been holding them hostage, fresh ocean breeze and sun…warm sun- what does that even feel like?

But I want to be… here.

My freshman year, I jumped on the bandwagon and took the trip I had been waiting for since I left for college- Spring Break Cancun 06’. Looking back I can say it was fun, yet nothing that I could not have been doing right here at school, minus the beach and pool bar.  It was an adventure and while I look back with fond memories, I apologize now to my future kids- you won’t be going.  You will be mad at first, but I promise you will thank me later.

Sophomore year, I learned from past decisions and planned my own break, a road trip to Atlanta, where my older sister was living at the time.  My mom jumped in on the idea of awhole week with her girls and decided to come along too.  It was perfect.

Junior year is the one I will always carry close to my heart.  I was studying abroad in London and we decided to explore Italy.  I loved everything about the country, the reflection and shadows of the sun bouncing off facades of walls in Venice- it all made sense to me.  This is what the great painters of our time hoped to capture in all the portraits that hung in museums we travelled too.

I could have spent months in Florence.  The free view, sitting atop Piazza de Michelangelo, never failing to grab a 5 Euro bottle of wine, block of fresh cheese and warm loaf of bread.  Oh and gelato, lots of gelato.  I refuse to admit to how much we spent on one serving.  I had immense guilt for being so impulsive with my money, until I took the first bite, it was at that moment all regrets and feelings of embarrassment simply vanished, gelato is too good.  We sat at the Piazza for hours, watched a couple that had just gotten married have their photos taken- we were complete strangers yet so apart of their moment. Finally, we made it to my favorite stop of all, Cinque Terra.  The other places I fell for- Cinque Terra I feel in love with. I had never felt so at peace.

Each spring break offered something different to me and I feel blessed to have had each experience.  There is no way I could top last year and while escaping this small town, to soak up the warm sun with a daiquiri in hand, sounds like a dream, I don’t feel right leaving.   Therefore, despite sounding odd and to some a bit boring I have planned to spend my time here, in Harrisonburg.  I want to enjoy my home for now, in a few months I will be some place else, not sure where but am overjoyed to find out.   I plan on giving this place the attention it deserves, like an old friend you have not seen in quite a while.  I intend to enjoy its treasures I have been too busy to notice.  Or maybe, going back to that honesty thing, I will just sleep all day and finally finish that novel sitting on my nightstand.  All I am sure of is that my plan for now is no plan and it feels like the perfect one for me.

Thanks for having a listen.

– Maeve

A Home Called UPB

There is energy on this campus, unlike anywhere else.  Maybe it is how genuine each person you come in contact with is, or maybe, that at any point in time; there is somewhere worthwhile to be.  Whether it is savoring coffee at Taylor Down Under with a friend or attending a concert at Wilson, I am constantly stimulated.  For that, I am so thankful.

I knew with it being my senior year I had to invest in something, something that aligned with what I believed in. I feel that each student deserves worthwhile events on campus that offer new perspectives and develop a deeper understanding of oneself and the world, all in hopes of enhancing their own college experience.  Ultimately, I was looking for a way to give back to this community that has given so much to me. I needed a way to express how grateful I am for how much I have grown these past four years and for knowing I will leave with beautiful memories.  After careful consideration I knew where my heart was being called, the University Program Board.

I have served as the VP of New Membership Development, a title quite fitting as I too am a new member.  UPB has been a part of my college experience since the moment I stepped onto campus, yet I had not fully been a part of it until now.  This semester I had the privilege of working with fifty amazing individuals new to the organization. Each of them was unique in their gifts and abilities, yet they were unified by the fact that they sought an opportunity to serve our student body through creating memorable events.  As cliché as it may sound, while my position entailed teaching them of all UPB does and hopes to accomplish, they in turn provided me with new, refreshing perspectives.  Most importantly, they reminded me of why I should appreciate each day I have here at James Madison. This university is a place encouraging of authenticity and creativity, a place where no matter who you are, there is somewhere your heart can invest in its greatest passions.

This was our first trial with P.I.T. Crew and I have to say it went wonderfully.  It wouldn’t have been possible without the new members enthusiasm.  Thank you, for making my first semester a part of UPB one that will always make me smile.

– Maeve