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  • Writer's pictureJD Hagood

What Spokes Did Over Spring Break

We all love a good break from school or work, and the spokes team is no different! Let's see what the team members did over spring break.


I went on a research trip to South Arkansas! As part of the urban planning class “Bills and Billions,” me and two other classmates are working on developing policy recommendations around the growing lithium extraction industry in rural areas of Arkansas and how that will affect local economies. Throughout the week, we met with many different stakeholders such as mayors, the extraction companies, and community focused non-profits to understand their values and perspective. It was a great way to learn about people I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, and really dive into a complex and fascinating problem. We also tried to have a little bit of fun, and saw geothermal hot springs, ate some of the best pizza I’ve ever had (no joke), and went to the cultural touchstones and historical monuments that are Benihana’s and Bass Pro Shop :) 


For the first half of break, I went offline to a yurt in Newport, Vermont! Some friends and I retreated to the wilderness without electricity or running water, fully in nature. We lived on a goat and horse farm. Mostly, we treated the stay as a musical and writing retreat, taking lots of breaks to hike and go into the town, featuring a Maple farm! It was beautiful, but cold with over 20 inches of snow two days into the trip. But, a little snow never stopped anyone from soft serve, and Newport, VT does it best with all that fresh dairy. For the last half of the week, I took a

train home and spent time with my Mom. We made hand pulled noodles, salted duck, and soup dumplings. Most days, we experiment with different recipes and just have fun. I played piano, cozied up with my cat and dog, and watched movies with my Mom. I would highly recommend Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. We enjoyed it a lot, and there’s a few gems like: “Guess why I smile a lot. Uh, cause it's worth it.” If you haven’t already, take the train from MA to CT. It’s the eighth wonder of the world, especially around sunset hour. That would make anyone smile.


I and ten other members of sMITe, the women’s club ultimate team at MIT, took on the Finger Lakes. Along our drive, we stopped by a cozy cafe in Troy, NY (shoutout Cafe Euphoria!), which we later found out was owned an MIT alum. We then braved treacherous winter weather (in one stretch passing ~10 cars stuck in snow on either side of the highway) before arriving at our lakeside AirBnB. Over the next few days, we hiked, grilled burgers and assembled burritos, made campfire s’mores and tanghulu,

looked at the stars, and played disc golf. And we had many, MANY jam sessions, complete with both an electric and acoustic guitar, ukulele, drum box, and some beautiful voices. After a fun and restorative few days, we dispersed. I went home to New Jersey and saw my parents. As always, we made my favorite chive, tofu and shiitake mushroom dumplings that I will certainly miss and dream about during our trip this summer. 


A few friends and I went to Peru to go on a 4-day trek to Machu Picchu! We did the Salkantay trek, and it was one of the best trips and adventures I’ve ever been on. The scenery and landscapes were absolutely breath-taking (literally in some cases because of the high altitude). We saw some beautiful lagoons, many llamas and alpacas, and of course, one of the seven wonders of the world. I loved that we hiked through so many different ecosystems (from alpine climates to the damp Amazon jungle). We spent our remaining days in Peru in Lima, where we ate our weight in ceviche. 


Over Spring Break, I ventured off to Canada to explore Montreal. Unfortunately, the initial plan of biking up north got derailed within hours of starting by a winter snowstorm and a non-responsive pinky toe. After a quick stop at MIT Medical to ensure no lasting damage to said pinky toe had occurred, I took the bus up to Montreal. There, I stayed at a cheap hostel, made some new friends and indulged in the nightlife. I also ate my weight in poutine, bagels and pastrami sandwiches which I’m coming to regret on the post-spring break bike rides.


The Mighty Mississippi River

This spring break I decided to go back home to Mississippi to bike the scenic Natchez Trace parkway. I started in my home town of Clinton and headed south to the start of the trail in Natchez. I started on Sunday and biked halfway to camp out with my dad in Port Gibson listening to a playlist including Tame Impala, AC/DC and Olivia Rodrigo. The next day I finished the ride and went to see the mighty Mississippi river up close! After this bike ride I continued to ride around my hometown and worked on some

projects in my garage.  I built a bike blender (more on this in future blog posts!) and a vacuum chamber that I had way too much fun putting random stuff in from marshmallows to water bottles and even a candle whose flame became spherical in low pressure. My guess is that the lower pressure caused the buoyancy of hot air to decrease similar to how a candle on the ISS has a spherical flame because there is no pressure gradient and therefore no buoyant force.

Similar to what I saw in the vacuum chamber


Over spring break some friends and I got an AirBnB in the lovely town of Saranac Lake in upstate New York. We left after class on Friday and managed to only get lost once on the drive up, arriving at around 1 AM. The next day we did a pretty cool hike in the afternoon, and then a few of us decided to do the hike again at night, during which we quickly became terrified by rustling sounds in the woods. We spent the rest of our trip exploring the town (lots of cool little shops as well as a museum about the history of tuberculosis research), playing board games (highly recommend Carcassonne), and cooking (I successfully flipped an omelet for the first time in my life after many failed attempts).


My friends from home came to visit me in Boston and I took them around town before we all went to NYC for a few days! In Boston, we went thrifting, spent time at the BPL, and walked around the Commons. The first day my friends arrived, they got a perfect Boston welcome- the rain and wind were so bad our umbrellas almost flew away. In NYC, we went to many bookstores- we tried, and failed, to spot Lin Manuel Miranda at the

Drama Book Shop (which he partially owns). I had my first NYC bagel (and proceeded to buy two more to bring back home), tried the iconic banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery (would highly recommend), and found some amazing coffee shops. We also went to an old-school Broadway diner where the waiters sang Broadway numbers in-between taking our orders. My favorite part was our trip to Greenwich Village to see the apartment building from the sitcom Friends and Cornelia Street (which Taylor Swift wrote a song about). Our trip ended with ice cream from New City and Lemonade Mouth (a classic) to celebrate my friend’s birthday! At the end of spring break, my mom visited me and we went to a family friend’s wedding. We also had the most amazing dinner at a Nepalese-Indian food place, Kantipur Cafe, that I’ve been meaning to try since my sophomore year.


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Apr 30

So cute Amulya!


Joy Ma
Joy Ma
Apr 30

Wowww 🤩🤩🤩🔥🔥🔥


Gretchen Burgess
Gretchen Burgess
Apr 30

My Spring Break was so much less inspiring. I'll have to do better than building a retaining wall in my backyard next year...


Apr 30

Very inspiring group !! Keep it up!

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