During the school year, it’s easy to fall into the same routine, but every now and then, it’s nice to break out of that cycle and try something new. Whether it’s signing up for a belly dancing class or roasting s’mores outside of your dorm, take advantage of the activities that Rutgers offers and take a break from your studies.
When it’s not raining and disgustingly humid outside, Autumn is a pretty lovely season to spend time outdoors; the gentle sun warms you while the crisp air energizes you. On Sunday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went paddle boarding for the first time with the Rutgers Outdoors Club. Our group of nine met at 9:30 AM and carpooled to Jersey Paddle Boards in Greenwood Lake, NY. As we neared our destination, after an hour-long drive, our eyes wandered out the windows to gaze upon the lakes and the trees just starting to change color.
It was such a gorgeous day. It was a little cool when we first got there but the sun quickly warmed us up. After going over the basics of paddle boarding, we were ready to go out on the calm lake and give it a go. I had a shaky start; rising up to a standing position from kneeling was a little challenging, but after that, it was a lot easier than I had expected.
The trip coordinator, Nick, brought his adorable dog, Nova, on the trip with us. Nova had his own life vest with handles, giving a new meaning to the term “purse dog.” He went on the paddle boards and would hop from one to another if they were close enough.
We made our way past plenty of docked boats and lake houses. We waved hello to people taking their boats out and enjoyed the company of our fellow Rutgers students. There were a few falls due to losing balance, but we all ended up in the water because Nick made it his goal to push each one of us in. The slimey lake plants under my feet prompted me to hop back on my board as quickly as possible. We spent half an hour just chillin’ on the lake. We didn’t paddle around but sat on the boards or lay on our backs and soaked up the sun.
After eating, we made our way back to the lake, but the water was a little more rough, making it harder to maneuver the board. After four hours of paddling, we got ready to leave. Some words of advice: don’t bring your phone out on the paddle boards with you, even if you’re offered a ‘safe box.’ Anything could happen and you don’t want to risk damaging your phone.
When I decided to go on the trip, I didn’t know any of the people beforehand, but that didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to do. Not knowing anyone shouldn’t stop you from doing something new too. I know it may seem a little daunting, trust me, I was a little apprehensive about being by myself, but the feeling doesn’t last long. You may show up to a trip by yourself, but you’ll talk to the people there and you wont leave alone. You can plan trips on your own with your friends, but often times, going as a group with a Rutgers organization gives you a good deal on an event or activity.
I had great conversations, made new friends, and learned a new skill. I had a lot of fun paddle boarding and spending time outside and in the sun, instead of looking at my laptop indoors. I can’t wait to go on another Rutgers Outdoors Club trip. It was a nice break from the craziness of school and I actually forgot the worries I had about my classes and enjoyed the moment. Being out on the lake was the most at peace I’ve felt for a while. So go on adventures, explore your surroundings, and have a nice fall!
If you want to talk about paddle boarding, outdoor things, or anything else, feel free to leave a comment below! I’d love to talk to you 🙂