Spring Break: Planning Strategies for Meaningful Vacations and Essays

By Elizabeth Babadzhanova

Being a student at the University of Washington Bothell, I have countless hours of essay writing experience. And like other students, I am looking forward to Spring Break. As much as I wanted to give my mind time to relax and daydream while planning my Spring Break vacation, a switch flipped and I began to plan my vacation the same way that I approach my essays.

A paper is nothing without a strong topic; similarly, a vacation is nothing without a destination. Whether that destination is Hawaii, or the bed that I’ve been separated from all quarter, the topic of my paper, like the destination of my vacation, needs to attract me in some way. Finding areas of attraction not only allows me to be passionate about what I am writing, but the appeal also allows me to believe that it will provide me with new insights and experiences. Without that allure, it is probable that my essay will turn out uninteresting and my vacation will seem uninviting.

To create structure, it is essential to establish the budget for the trip. For example, a thought-provoking and eloquent 1,000 word essay corresponds with a $1,000 budget to cover my adventurous and relaxing vacation. Just as a writer needs to know how to allocate words for sections of their paper, a trip planner needs to acquire the skill of distributing funds for a vacation.

Now comes the crucial point, building my thesis. How can I summarize the argument of my essay in one sentence? More importantly, how can I convince my parents that they should let me use their timeshare for my Spring Break vacation with my rowdy friends? If there was ever a reason to figure out my ultimate argument or purpose for my vacation, now is the time to start developing a strong case. How the argument is assembled and presented can make or break the quality of an essay, as well as any vacation plans.

Research is a key aspect of both paper writing and vacation planning. Thorough work depends on the quality of the resources I use. For example, using Wikipedia as my main research source is like depending solely on what a friend tells me she paid for a hotel room the previous year—not a good idea. Prices change, so at best my friend’s information is a ballpark figure. Like Wikipedia, my friend’s estimate might be a good place to start, but it would be better to go with something more reliable.  I avoid unreliable information by finding scholarly articles, which incorporate facts and relevant researched material. Such materials can be found through using article databases, or in the case of vacation planning, using a travel database.

I equate to going straight to the source such as the hotel’s website with using peer-reviewed articles. Sources such as these help a researcher understand the conversations occurring around this topic from multiple sources, giving a trip planner and writer the opportunity to compare, contrast, and engage in thought. Using reliable sources for research will provide my paper and my vacation with the strongest evidence to support my claims. There is no such thing as too much research because it can only help the preparation, in either scenario.

Finally, just as I would in my essays, I summarize what I learned and how that information supports my main point; in this case, how I can a have a fun Spring Break vacation for $1000. It is essential for me to finish strong by reminding the audience why I want or need this vacation, and making sure that thought sticks in the minds of my audience. By using a strategy such as this one I can ensure a thorough paper and/or a vacation that I will always remember as Spring Break 2012.

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