It has been two weeks since I got back from my journey to the Appalachia Region, specifically Neon, Kentucky. Neon is about an 9 hour drive from Saint Joe’s campus (12 hours counting all of the pit stops).
As a freshman, I was very reluctant to sign up for the Appalachian Experience (APEX), because I did not know what to expect, I had never done a service retreat to that high of an extent, and I was not sure if I could handle more time away from my family and friends back at home.
There’s art therapy, music therapy, pet therapy…what about community service therapy?
One of the biggest characteristics about Saint Joe’s that set it apart from my previous university are all of its amazing community service opportunities. At my old school, any sort of service program was done primarily through Greek life, and if you were very non-Greeky like myself, then you would not be able to participate.
Being Jesuit, SJU promotes the help of others. This is done through multiple programs such as APEX, Collegiate Challenge, Weekly Service, and a variety of service learning courses.
– The Beatles, ‘Two of Us’
APEX has just recently come to an end. After spending my spring break doing service work in Hazard, Kentucky, I set foot once again on St. Joe’s campus this past Saturday evening. I was exhausted (I still am) after getting around a collective 20 hours of sleep during the weeklong trip. My muscles were sore from tearing up boards, hammering nails, swinging a sledgehammer, and crawling under a house to fix leaky pipes. I spent my break physically drained, hyped up on coffee and sugary cereal.
And it was one of the best weeks,
– Paul McCartney, ‘Heart of the Country’
Spring break is only five days away. Last year at this time, I was thrilled over the idea of heading home, hanging out with my family, indulging in home-cooked meals, sleeping for outrageous spans of time, and watching every movie I could think of starring Jeff Goldblum.
This time last year, I was also envious of my freshman classmates who were zealously planning and packing to go on APEX. For those who don’t know, APEX is a common abbreviation for the Appalachian Experience, a program that allows St. Joe’s students to volunteer in the Appalachian region during spring break.