College is stressful. And I recognize that the same way I look back on stressful times in high school and think, “that was nothing,” I’m going to look back on this post when I’m a college graduate and say the same thing.
But for the sake of the post, let’s just call a spade a spade. College is stressful. College is busy. College plays on your emotions. College tests you. And sometimes, you need to get away from it all.
This weekend I went camping with some friends. I thought getting away and submerging myself into nature was sure to be the cure to my cluttered mind.
On Friday we left for Red River Gorge State Park with plans to set up camp, hike, take in the scenery, sit around the camp fire, and–well, you know, all the good stuff. What we didn’t plan for though, was everything going terribly out of our favor.
We got lost along the way and didn’t plan accordingly to buy a pass into the park. If it weren’t for the generous lady working the night shift re-opening her store after closing, we would have been out of luck for night number one in the great outdoors. Fortunately, we had just enough luck and we set up camp around one in the morning. And I will say, we did a pretty good job popping up two tents in the dark without a flashlight (thank goodness for iPhones). Finally, we got our fire going around two, and settled in our tents around three. All we needed was a good nights sleep before a long day of hiking and exploring around the park.
This is the part of the story where our luck runs out. Cue the rain.
There was a lot of rain. It was like out of nowhere the entire sky let out. And thank goodness we brought two tents because one of them couldn’t manage the rain. So there we were: all four of us, in the middle of the woods, in the pouring rain, in one tent. Our food? Soaked. Our firewood? Drenched. My weekend getaway that was supposed to rid me of the mid-semester stressful build up? Honestly, unaffected.
This weekend I had zero phone service, a muddy dog to take care of in a muddy tent, wet clothes, soggy hotdog buns, and only a few hours of sunshine. This weekend was perfect. And that is coming from someone who loves the sunshine.
What I also had this weekend was good company. I was surrounded by three people who laughed at the horrendous situation that only we would find ourselves in… I mean, how often does optimism beat a 70% change of rain, anyways? I don’t know who we thought we were, but we weren’t about to be the people to complain about it.
Instead, we sat around in a musty tent playing cards and laughing for two days. We took advantage of the few hours we had to go on one short hike (which was beautiful) and for some reason decided to stay the second night. At that point, why not, right?
I guess my point is that just like the rain wouldn’t go away this weekend, stressful times aren’t going to stop during any point of our lives. High school, college, post-graduation life… It’s all about perspective, and a rainy camping trip can be ruined or it can be embraced and enjoyed for what it is.
I hope that when I’m a college graduate, and I’m looking back on the times I thought I was stressed as a student (laughing at myself because then I’m sure I’ll begin to learn the true definition of stress), that I’ll still be the kind of person to laugh at and embrace a rainy camping trip. I hope I’ll still be the kind of person to recognize the beauty in any situation; to be able to describe a rainy, muddy weekend stuck outside as “relaxing” and “perfect.” And last but certainly not least, I absolutely hope that I’m still surrounded by these great people who made me realize that even though the rain isn’t going to go away, life doesn’t have to always be stressful.
Side note: I would absolutely recommend visiting Red River Gorge State Park (rain or shine, of course). Like I said, the little bit we did see of the park was beautiful.