The sharp edge of the mattock ground through the dirt, sifting through several inches of hard soil in the rural mountains of Tennessee. Our team of IUPUI students had finally arrived at our construction site along the undeveloped Cumberland Trail, and our tools quickly went to work removing the top layer of duff that impeded our efforts in exposing the layer of mineral soil underneath.
While working, I could not help but recall the whacks, dings, thrusts, pulls, and lifts I had performed over three and a half years of being involved with IUPUI’s Alternative Break program. This particular trip to Tennessee would take students from Indianapolis and position them in an experiential learning opportunity in which to engage their head, heart, and hands in learning about environmental efforts along the Cumberland Trail. It would also become my sixth, and last, alternative break trip with IUPUI.
The IUPUI Honors College and other programs on campus have provided me with a number of opportunities in which to contribute to something larger than myself and to further increase my knowledge of how our society has been constructed and maintained throughout history, within our education system, and between various groups of people.
As a senior studying education at IUPUI, I have intentionally and wholeheartedly placed myself in programs and situations that challenged me to move out of my comfort zone and made me a better teacher. In other words, I arrived at IUPUI intent on making a difference on campus because I believed that being informed about social issues would help me better understand the challenges my students would face inside the classroom and out.