Why Raft Guiding Is 100% Better Than Your Current Summer Job

5 Reasons Why Raft Guiding Is 100% Better Than Your Current Summer Job

5 reasons why raft guiding is the best summertime gig out there.

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Particularly in the latter months of the spring semester, all the talk of summer jobs and internships can be dizzying. It's easy to feel overshadowed by that New York Times internship some Grady student landed, or the Terry kid who earned himself a job with some top-notch accounting firm. These are awesome accomplishments and should be held in quite a high regard; however, I think with the incredible amount of pressure students feel to acquire such positions in today's socioeconomic climate, it's important to note that you don't have to be the next industry mogul in order to have a fulfilling summer. On the opposite end of the summer-position spectrum lies a (in my opinion) massively under-appreciated job, and one that just might provide you with the greatest summer of your life: raft guiding.

1. The river is your office.

Larry Meisner

I don't care how smart you are, how promising of an internship you've got, or how high paying your cubicle-based job is-- it's absolutely undeniable that 9-5 in the office gets old. To the people who are capable of sitting there for 40+ hours a week on their computer surrounded by gray walls, dull business attire, and loads of paperwork, I have a deep-rooted respect for you. As productive as it may be, that just isn't the type of satisfaction I'm looking for, and I think it's safe to say many people in these rather monotonous positions share that sentiment. I can't think of a work environment further from an office than the river-- all summer long you get paid to do what families pay upwards of $100 for. Whitewater rafting can be thrilling, relaxing, exciting, hilarious, memorable, etc. all in one trip. If the idea of getting paid for experiences like that for three months doesn't appeal to you, I don't know what will.

2. The people.

Shelby Mannes

I'd be lying if I said your average raft guide was just like everyone else. They're a different breed, but in the best way I can possibly imagine. People from all walks of life find themselves working on the river and it makes for a very diverse yet cohesive bunch. Just about every raft guide I've ever crossed paths with is easy going, fun-loving, but quite open-minded and intelligent as well. Some of the best people I've ever met are raft guides, and just when you start to think they're "just a bunch of hippies" (which some may actually be--not a bad thing), they'll drop some knowledge on you like you wouldn't believe. College students are the prevalent age group among raft guides, and it's typically the "outdoorsy" crowd who gravitates to jobs like this; so, naturally, you cross paths with quite a few students specializing in areas like ecology and other environmental sciences, and as you could probably imagine, they possess a wealth of knowledge about the river and surrounding landscape, which is quite interesting if you ask me.

3. The culture.

Larry Meisner

Along with a group of fun, smart, nature-loving people comes a culture that is unmatched in any other industry. Staff housing for raft companies often consists of tiny wooden shacks; it may not sound appealing at first, but I can assure you leaving my wooden box of a home last season was one of the hardest goodbyes I've ever experienced. You're surrounded by other people who also love the outdoors and who also live out of tiny wooden shacks. The parties are fun, the bonfires are satisfying, and the memories made will surely be some of your fondest. You may not even have cell service in your housing community-- rather than a group of people engaging in shallow conversation followed by the inevitable cell phone frenzy, you get some quality time to put the devices down and really connect with those around you. It may sound cliche, but it's the absolute truth.

4. The customers.

Proctor Academy on Flickr

Your coworkers aren't the only people who are guaranteed to make your time as a raft guide memorable--the customers are a blast to interact with as well (most of the time). You'd be surprised just how far people come to raft. It's not infrequent that families will travel from all over the country and even the world just to land a spot in your raft, putting their faith in you to successfully guide them down a number of whitewater rapids. You get to learn so much about so many different people and it's an awesome thing. Whether it's an adventurous family from overseas, an enthusiastic Boy Scout troop, a group of coworkers looking to strengthen their teamwork skills, or whatever the case may be, odds are you'll give them a trip they'll never forget, and they'll likely do the same for you.

5. The extracurriculars.

Ben Anderson

Whitewater and mountains go hand in hand-- it's science. Thanks to this "natural phenomenon" of sorts, working for rafting companies is highly conducive to outdoor recreation beyond the river. Mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, you name it--there's as much opportunity for outdoor activity as one could possibly ask for, all in one place. Not only do you live in an outdoor mecca, but oftentimes your company will provide benefits allowing you to take advantage of your surroundings that much easier. For example, I work for the Nantahala Outdoor Center in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and as an employee, I get to rent kayaks, mountain bikes, paddle boards, and even zipline, all for little to no cost. Whether you're already an outdoor enthusiast or simply a modest adventure-seeker looking for a way to spice things up, working on the river is sure to provide you with as much time playing in the outdoors as you could want, and I can't think of a better way to spend my summer.

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On June 22nd I Celebrated My 22nd

*Insert cliche Taylor Swift song "22"*

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It's about time I turn 22. I've been told that after your 21st birthday, the years begin to fly past you in a blur. I don't know if I agree, but I can definitely say that I don't feel 22. Sometimes I look around at all the people who are freshmen in college, or juniors in high school, and I begin to reminisce about when I was their age. One thing getting older does do is make you a skeptical, cynical person.

I've thought a lot about my birthday as another day that I get to eat cake because let's face it, I'm not really here for anything else, except maybe a shot. I remember celebrating my birthday when I was younger was much different from what it turned into after I turned 20. Back in the day, I would celebrate my birthday with a pool party. Pizza, chips, cake, and soda. A few balloons and candles and that was it. I'd only invite my closest friends and we'd have so much fun.

I miss that kind of birthday. The kind you pick out an outfit for days prior, the kind you get so excited for and can't sleep, the kind that makes you feel special. It doesn't feel like that anymore. What it feels like now is, "welp, there goes another year." This line is also applicable to New Year's Eve, but we'll cross that bridge six months from now.

My birthday is pretty uneventful. It feels like the spark is gone, the excitement is gone. I wish I could feel happy that I'm turning 22, but I also know that it's just a reality that we all get older and things like birthdays begin to feel strange. You're faced to realize that you're supposed to have gained another year of experience and intelligence in the aspects of life, but it's almost like you feel the same.

It's safe to say that this has been a bit of an existential-crisis-themed birthday, but I'm just a little scared of getting older. I think we all reach a point where you realize you aren't invincible anymore. It's time to see what's in store for the future, what your career goals are, where you plan to move to after graduation, how to eat better, and how to feel like you've reached your full potential. It's a bittersweet moment in my life, but I'm ready to see what's next.

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Bulldogs Get Their Shot At Professional Baseball

Four Georgia Baseball players were selected through the first two days of the MLB draft. The Bulldogs garnered national attention in the 2019 season after an impressive 46-17 record.

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Georgia baseball has been steadily improving ever since a string of sub-.500 finishes over the past decade. Consecutive appearances in the NCAA Regional Tournament shows the nation that Athens is once again a powerhouse. Even Major League Baseball is starting to take notice.

1. Aaron Schunk - 62nd pick, Colorado Rockies

Schunk was considered a two-way prospect going into the draft. He split his time between third base and closing pitcher. A winner of the Triple Crown award, Schunk had 15 home runs and 58 RBIs with a batting average of .339 as the Bulldog third baseman. As the closer, he had 12 saves with a 2.49 ERA. The position assigned to him by the Rockies was third base but he is likely to still get an opportunity to pitch in the minor league system.

2. Tony Locey - 96th pick, St. Louis Cardinals

A semifinalist for the 2019 pitcher of the year, Locey had a season ERA of 2.53 accompanied by an 11-2 record. His season was somewhat of a surprise after having a 3.92 career ERA at the collegiate level. MLB teams typically look at a number under 3.00 as being impressive. The Cardinals expect Locey to continue his upward trajectory.

3. Tim Elliott - 126th pick, Seattle Mariners

Another Bulldog pitcher comes off the board on the draft's second day. Elliott posted impressive numbers during his junior campaign with a 2.38 ERA and a 7-3 record. One of those seven wins came by way of the complete game which is becoming ever more rare in today's game. Originally coming to Georgia as a reliever, Elliott transitioned to a starter while posting a 3.10 career ERA across 41 appearances.

4. LJ Talley - 207th pick, Toronto Blue Jays

The best fielder on the team has shown yearly improvement with the bat which was the most crucial area needed for him to be on the MLB's radar. His fielding is solid with an appearance on the 2019 SEC All-Defensive team. Talley finished his senior season with a batting average of .332 accompanied by 8 home runs and 41 RBIs.

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