Finding Your Path
Alternative Spring Break was the most impactful experience I had in my time at MSU.
When I first transferred into MSU as a sophomore back in 2003, I remember attending the "Party at the Aud" and meandering around various student clubs and organizations trying to find a place where I could fit in. Various sororities and societies just didn't connect with me, and I almost went home before stopping at the ASB table. A couple of friendly, down- to-earth volunteers told me about their desire to do something more meaningful than the Cancun-style spring break most students were used to. Admittedly, I loved my Cancun-style spring breaks, but something struck a chord with me, and I signed up to be a part of it.
I traveled to San Francisco that year, and had an amazing time experiencing San Francisco in a way I never could have if it hadn't been a service trip. Talking with those impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the city, and learning how I could help was incredibly meaningful. The following year, I knew I wanted to go again and signed up to work in a school for students with special needs in Puebla, Mexico. The students and teachers were the warmest and kindest that I have ever met. I wanted to take my 4 year-old buddy Christian home with me and cried when I left.
The following year, I signed up to be a Site Leader, and traveled with a group of my peers to Kansas City where we worked at Operation Breakthrough, a daycare center and after-school program for low-income students. It was shortly after that trip that I realized my heart for working with students coming from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds, and applied to work as a teacher post-graduation in Baltimore City Public Schools. A few years into my teaching experience here, I reached out to ASB to send a group of students to work with me in my school. They were incredible role models for my students and I was able to share a part of myself that I wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
I now work as administrator for the district office in Baltimore City Public Schools, and have committed my work to helping students in our community achieve more through a high quality academic experience. I credit ASB for helping me find my professional path in life, and simply cannot thank the organization enough for all that they do to help the community and those who volunteer. I saved my first ASB t-shirt and still wear it for the occasional long run. The quote chosen that year still resonates with me, "The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others." -Ghandi
-Kristen McQuillan, ASB alumna 2003-2006