When I was 11 years old, my family and I went white-water rafting in Buena Vista, Colorado. I was immediately in awe of the Arkansas River. I fell in love with the adrenaline of splashing through rapids, only to have the sun dry you up the next calm moment. I was mesmerized by everything about this outdoor adventure. It seemed far off to think that maybe I could do that, or at least live there, when I was in college.
Being a girl from the Midwest who has lived the majority of her life in the same house in a suburban neighborhood, I was used to the same. I applied to the University of Colorado Boulder on a whim, because I thought it was “cool”. Nearing the end of my freshman year at CU, I sure as all get out did not want to go back to Missouri. Not because I didn’t want to see my friends or family, and not because I didn’t like St. Louis (Go Cardinals), I just wanted more.
Fast forward, 7 years and somehow I ended up in that same town at that same company, working for the rafting company that I visited growing up. Honestly, I was a little shocked to have been considered for the position, but non-the less, ecstatic that this opportunity was in front of me. I packed up my dorm room and drove the three hours it takes to get from Boulder to Buena Vista with my parents, a newly created Spotify playlist, and a loaded car full of everything I considered to be necessary for a summer away from home. Somehow I fit all of my possessions into my room at the trailer park, or “TP” as we fondly called it. Yes, I lived in a trailer, and I loved every minute of it. I truly felt “at home”. I worked long days, sure, but I made lasting friendships in the process and learned a lot about myself at the same time. I realized that just because you're away from your house (mine being in St. Louis) doesn’t mean you are far away from home. In my opinion, home is not just a place but also a feeling. Summer jobs don’t just have to be work; they can be fun too. Taking a summer job that is “scary” or way outside your comfort job is the universe making you take a giant leap into your future. I learned so much from just taking the first step and applying for the job. Over the summer, I learned about relationships and made friendships. There is something special about allowing yourself to fully invest in wherever you are and whomever you are with. If you allow yourself to take chances and trust in others, amazing things will come of that.
So, it’s getting to be the time of the year when summer is just a few months away. The thoughts of summer come with the uncertainty summer jobs, the possibility of returning home, etc. Take a leap of faith; apply for the job you thought was just a dream when you were younger. College years are possibly one of the only times in life where responsibilities aren’t as heavy and you have the freedom to explore.