Crossroads Mission Trip – Part 1 (Trekkin’ Down to FL) by Matt Kasznel

I meant what I said and I said what I meant-I will recap this Crossroads trip no matter how long it takes.

We departed from Pittsburgh on Saturday, Feb. 27 around 4:30 PM. We had 22 total people–17 current Duquesne undergrads, one grad student, two former DU students (who formed one lovely married couple), and two adult leaders. We crammed into two vans; for those who are morally opposed to math, that’s 11 people in each van for about 20 hours, with a couple stops along the way. Oh man.

The trek down started fine, but when night crept in and it was time to give the drivers some quiet to concentrate on the roads, trouble started. In case you’ve never tried, it’s quite the challenge to sleep sitting in a van with 10 other people. I got about 45 minutes of sleep, and that didn’t come until around 5 AM Sunday. By seven, we were at our breakfast destination, Waffle House.
After grub, we piled back into the vans that we had named for to make things easier (our van was the DeLorean, from “Back to the Future”–the other van, the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars.”)  We were staying at a Girl Scout camp near our work site, but they weren’t ready for us to “check in” yet, so we spent a few hours playing frisbee at a nearby park. Amazing how long you can play frisbee for while running on less than an hour of sleep and an overload of McDonalds/Wendy’s.

When we got to the campsite and unpacked, I promptly fell asleep. Amazingly, though, I woke up feeling worse than I did before. Luckily, though, it was dinner time. We took turns making dinner during the week, and that night was spaghetti and meatballs, one of my favorites.

After dinner, we held our nightly worship session, which is where I started to think this trip was going to be more than I had expected. Our friend Pete spoke about trying to keep your life in perspective, even when you feel like you might “deserve” more than you’re getting. Afterwards, my good friend Jon played guitar and led us in worship music, my favorite part of each evening. Anytime someone begins playing a song everyone knows the words to, it can make for a great experience. But when the lyrics you all know mean more than the average love song, everything is raised to another level.

After worship, we all really hit the sack hard…except for the guys in my room. The four of us–myself, Jon, Ryan, and Cam–spent a solid hour “trying” to sleep, but actually talking about different bands and music styles. We had a couple more conversations like this during the week, and no matter how ridiculous or how serious the talks were, I felt like each one brought us closer together.

This post turned out longer than I thought it would, especially considering we haven’t actually hit the work week yet. But that part’s coming, as well as a few more pictures. Hope you’re enjoying this so far.



Au Revoir Spring Break by x3erica1037
03.09.10, 9:45 am
Filed under: Bloggers, Class of 2013, EricaT | Tags: , , ,

As I announced a while back, Spring Break this year was expected to be my best one yet, and it didn’t disappoint. Instead of relaxing at home and catching up on sleep, I traveled with my Impressionism art history class to Paris, France for the week. There were 18 students, including myself, plus our two professors. Our mission was to view and study as much art as we could, while exploring the city and having an amazing time. After cramming in as much site-seeing as possible, I definitely think we succeeded.

Although some strong winds and rain in Paris diverted our arrival to Amsterdam for a little while, we drove the final five hours on a bus, determined to arrive in the city on the day we had planned. Though it was 12 hours later than expected, we finally made it, and the first glimpse of Paris made me realize it had been worth the wait.  Even at night, we could see the beauty of the architecture all around us and it felt like we were in a whole other world.

After visiting the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Arc de Triumph, Champs d’Elysee, basically about a million other places, and of course the Eiffel Tower, I felt like the city was too good to be true. Everything was gorgeous, the people were interesting, and the food was delicious. I was proud of the bravery my classmates and I had in trying many new things, like snails and pate made with duck liver.  We honestly enjoyed everything we ordered and it made the trip even more memorable. We all agreed it would be difficult to go back from French cuisine to Towers meals, and even  considered sneaking some baguettes and croissants into our carry-ons.

All too soon, though, we discovered it was time to pack up and return back to the Bluff.  I had mixed feelings about going home; on one hand I missed my family and friends but on the other it felt like we were leaving so much excitement in Europe. After only 8 hours on a much easier flight, I arrived at the Pittsburgh International Airport feeling ready to get back to real life with my memories and photos that will last forever.

Everyone in front of Auguste Rodin's "The Gates of Hell"

After going through my first study abroad experience, I would recommend it to everyone. Travel as often as you can for as long as you can, because the memories and the experiences aren’t something you can just read about in books. I’m now hoping to participate in as many similar programs as possible during my time as Duquesne, and I hope to see some of you in next year’s pictures! Au revoir for now!


Welcome back by katzb
03.08.10, 10:37 am
Filed under: BrittanyK | Tags: , ,

It seems like just yesterday I was sitting the library finishing up homework and counting the hours until Spring Break. In the blink of an eye, we are back to the grind, trying to hang on until May.

I had a fun week in Atlanta and got a chance to look at the Emory campus, including the building that houses the graduate program I got accepted to. I am still waiting to hear from the other two schools but I am getting excited about what is to come after graduation.

Speaking of graduation, the University graduation ceremony is exactly two months from today. If you are a senior looking for info on graduation, your mom has been hounding you for the dates and times, or you want to support your fellow students by attending, here is the link to all the info:


The Bolt Bus, The Beauty of Boston, and More… by afederoff

I had previously stated I planned to spend part of my Spring Break in Boston. After just making it home to New Jersey from the Northeast, I had a few comments I would like to share.

First, I actually was not staying in Boston. My best friend, Claire, goes to Tufts University in Medford, MA, which is about 20 minutes out of the city. This school was absolutely beautiful, although it was much more isolated than Duquesne University. There were some very unique aspects about the school. On my campus tour, I discovered that the library roof is student accessible and has a garden and a wonderful view of the city (not as nice as ours of the Southside of course). It was a really beautiful place, both in the day and at night. I also found it very cool that the chemistry building was specifically built to implode instead of explode because of the chemicals it houses.

In Boston, everyone uses the “T”, which I believe might stand for the train. It is very similar to the subway. My friend Claire was astonished that in Pittsburgh, students use the bus system much more often than the subway equivalent. We argued intensively about the pros and cons of our respective public transportation source. In sum, while the bus system allows for transfers, and ends up cheaper overall, it does not stop at every stop, much like the T, so it is easier to get lost. In my opinion at least, of course the bus system won out.

I also uncovered a little known secret through my travels. Boston is a very hard city to travel to because the airport only flies into three airports: Cleveland, Newark, and some other location. So, in order for me to get there last Thursday, I had to fly on a connection plane, which had all of ten aisles to Cleveland. After this landed, I was delayed about two stressful hours until I finally left the ground, Boston-bound. On the way home, instead of traveling back to Pittsburgh, I was coming home to New Jersey, which offered many more options. After doing a lot of research, I discovered the Bolt Bus, which is an incredible way to travel! The Bolt Bus is equip with leather seats, outlets and Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the Bolt Bus only goes to major cities, so yesterday I took the Bolt Bus into New York City from Boston. It was a great way to visit cities on weekends, especially because tickets range from 10 to 20 dollars! For me, the Bolt Bus is a great asset to me, living so close to New York City. I can take cheap weekend trips to Philly, Washington D.C. or Boston again. Although I don’t love traveling alone, I guess I will have to get over it if I want to be a world traveler one day.

Happy Spring Break! If you are traveling somewhere warm or visiting friends, enjoy your trip. If you went home for spring break, enjoy home cooking. I got the best of both worlds!


Silence on the Bluff by lambertk
03.01.10, 1:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Spring Break is finally here.  I finally finished my midterms after many long, grueling, and sleepless hours on Friday.  I dropped my roommate off at the airport, and said goodbye to friends as they departed campus to venture home or travel on trips throughout the country.  Usually I begin a countdown to Spring Break from the start of the semester in January, but this year my break is bittersweet.  I won’t be at my home, in Chambersburg, playing with my dog, sleeping in my own bed, or eating home-cooked meals.  I will only be laying out on a sunny beach at an exotic resort in my dreams.  This year I have to stay on campus and work all week at my internship for an event we have next weekend. 

Regardless of my (less than thrilling) Spring Break plans, I am grateful for the learning opportunities I have had in planning for the Endorsement.  I have gained valuable skills in event planning, as I have helped coordinate logistics for our event to run smoothly at Heinz Field, developed organizational skills, ensuring that our committee list is accurate, and acquired communication skills, working with committee chairs and members with any problems that have come up. 

These are skills are necessary to have an edge over others for competitive internship and job opportunities.  Last week I attended both the Job and Internship Fair, as well as the Non-Profit Job and Internship Fair.  It was definitely an overwhelming and scary experience, but hopefully, if nothing else, something that I can learn from.  At least being alone this week will give me time to focus on finishing up all of the summer internship applications that have been piling up! 

 So while you’re all out having fun and enjoying life without classes don’t forget to come back next weekend and bring noise back to Duquesne— I’m bored and lonely without you!


Happy Spring Break by katzb

I am currently sitting in the Pittsburgh airport waiting for my flight to Atlanta. I have to admit I was jealous of everyone packing their bags on Friday for the Bahamas, Florida, or home. I was glad when my boyfriend and I planned a last-minute visit, and glad to get out of the snowy weather! (It’s supposed to be in the 50’s this week in Atlanta!)

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you’ll know that I have been (im)patiently waiting for an admissions decisions from the grad schools I applied to, or a response from some jobs that I applied for. I finally heard something back on Friday, and it was good news! I got accepted to the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Emory University! I was so relieved to hear back from somewhere so I know that I have at least an option for next year. I was also really excited about getting admitted to this particular program. It is a one-year program, starting soon after I graduate from Duquesne in May. It is also a small program, with 20-30 people in it each year. I have been reading everything I can find about the school and program online since hearing of my acceptance, and get more excited the more I read!

I plan to wait to make my decision about next year until I hear back from the other two graduate programs, but I am excited about the next step, whatever it ends up being!

On a sad note, I caught the final goal of the US vs. Canada hockey game as I arrived at the Pittsburgh airport. At least we earned silver…?

Happy spring break, Duquesne.


Spring Break Away by x3erica1037

eiffel-tower-dayHave you heard about Duquesne’s Spring Break Away Programs?

Recently I’ve been learning a lot about classes that satisfy core curriculum and then travel to foreign countries for Spring Break. I hope to travel as much as I can from now on, so the Spring Break Away definitely interested me. I attended a meeting that gave an overview of some of next semester’s classes, which included trips to Spain, Italy, and France. There, I found out that the trip to Paris, France was part of an Impressionism/Post-Impressionism art class that satisfied my Creative Arts Core. I called my parents right away and they agreed that it was a great opportunity. I handed in my application the next day and received word about a week later that I was accepted into the class.

I chose the art class because I had taken a few art classes in high school, including two years of Studio Photography, and my teachers were always very encouraging of us to study art history. Although they taught me the basics of famous artists and different eras, I’m excited to learn about Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in detail. The Duquesne professors I met were very clear that they were going to start with the basics, and there was no pre-requisite that required any art knowledge.

Obviously, I’m also super excited about the part where we travel to Paris in the spring! I honestly still can’t believe its going to happen and satisfy a requirement for school at the same time. Our itinerary is a week full of experiences including trips to all the famous museums and landmarks and actually viewing the art we studied all semester long. We will be staying at a hotel in the heart of all the culture and we will be given many evenings to explore on our own. It was surprising to me that I’m able to do this as a freshman. While seniors and juniors are given priority for these classes, my initiative to apply early paid off.

I would definitely recommend that all Duquesne students learn more about any available programs you may be interested in. As my first semester as a freshman starts to get closer and closer to the end, I’m very grateful to be able to reflect on my experiences so far and recognize how many amazing opportunities I have had right from the beginning.

More updates about this experience are to come!