I have gotten up before the sun for team lifts and early classes, but this day was different. I fought all my instincts to lay my head back on the pillow and continue sleeping as I struggled out of bed. My hands fumbled with my wetsuit as I took it from its place in the closet and stuffed it into a bag. I tucked my board under my arm and exited my apartment by 5:30 a.m. My friend and his truck were waiting for me outside. I strapped my board down and climbed inside, thankful for the heater. The 45-minute drive to the beach always feels longer at this hour. By the time we reached the oceanfront, soft beams of light had begun to sneak their way across the sky. We pulled in to our usual spot and suited up. The inferno of colors now becoming more and more vivid danced in the reflections on the water. Excited, we rushed down to where land and sea collide. The cold water was startling but soon forgotten as paddling through crashing sets warmed us up. The freezing, penetrating water and wind all become worth tolerating when that one wave begins breaking in the perfect place and time. It is during that exhilarating ride that all worries about school are swallowed up by the ocean.
We arrived back on campus just in time for our 10 o’clock classes. These last few weeks will be tough for sure, but they will be even harder without a stress reliever. Discovering what takes your anxieties away is key in college, and going to school near the coast, I have some great options.