By Jim Walsh, Student Advisor, The Bloomington Center
This spring break, Bloomington Center students went on a four night Western Caribbean trip through the Carnival Cruise Lines.
They soaked up sun on the deck, went parasailing, saw live entertainment, bargained with shop owners on Cozumel, lounged by the pool, and each night they had elegant formal dining. In Key West they visited the cats at the Hemmingway house. Upon returning to the mainland, they made a trip to the Florida Everglades and took pictures of alligators. One student, Hannah, actually got to hold a baby alligator. “Its skin felt like a wallet!” she reported.
Even on vacation (and perhaps especially so), students used their executive functioning skill strategies.
Kiersten, for example, worked with her advisor beforehand to come up with a system of how to plan to spend money.
“The money system for me involved a list of things I wanted to buy, like souvenirs for the family, or money for street food. I had checkboxes on the envelope that held my cash for different things to spend money on. I’m really cautious with my money, so I rarely ever spend much. I also had checkboxes for different amounts—$5, $10, and $20… the total of those numbers was the amount I had to spend on the trip. That way, when I checked amounts off, I could tell how much I had left,” first year student, Kiersten, said.
The new experiences and challenges that come with traveling can also be stressful, and emotional regulation becomes crucial to having a good time amongst the chaos.
“Before getting off the boat for Cozumel, it was very busy, loud, and people were yelling. There was also a lot of beeping from the security screen,” first year student, Erin, explained. “Getting on the boat was really stressful and confusing, too—it all made me very anxious. I felt really exhausted once I was on the ship. To calm myself, I listened to my music and thought of positive things. Then, once I felt better, I told myself, ‘I can’t spend all day in my room—I’m going to get a map of the ship and explore!’
I got lost a few times, but I figured it out eventually. Once I was accustom to being on the cruise ship, I knew my way around, and I felt comfortable going everywhere, even by myself. Actually, I had a lot of fun. I loved people-watching most of all. There were a lot of wild people there, but also some very kind, fun, and interesting people as well. In the end, it was a great opportunity to sit back and take interesting pictures of all that was going on.”
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