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Why Incoming Freshmen NEED to Know About FSU’s Outdoor Pursuits Program

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Upon embarking on your first year at Florida State, you may have already heard about our lively social scene, impressive sports teams and numerous greek life options. That being said, there are so many equally exciting and engaging organizations FSU has to offer which might be less well-known to incoming freshmen. One such organization that has become one of my absolute favorites has to be Florida State’s Outdoor Pursuits.

Outdoor Pursuits is part of FSU’s Outdoor Recreation Program. They frequently offer single-day activities throughout the semester including bike tours, canoe adventures, cavern exploration and snorkeling trips. Campus Rec provides all necessary gear and transportation for students embarking on these excursions for either free or at a low cost.

Outdoor Pursuits also offers overnight trips. These trips occur less frequently than the day trips, however, a handful are offered each semester. These trips can include camping in the Smoky Mountains, whitewater rafting adventures, and hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail. For these trips, Campus Rec also provides necessary gear such as tents and backpacks as well as transportation for students.

As freshmen at FSU, my friend and I embarked on our first ever Outdoor Pursuit this past February, a three-day camping trip in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. And while we may not be the most ‘outdoorsy’ type of people, we both agree that the trip was definitely an invigorating and enjoyable experience.

Our group, (as was true of other groups) was led by three FSU students of varying age levels who all were clearly very knowledgeable of the outdoors. We arrived at our campsite before sundown and were taught how to pitch our tents as well as how to build a fire.

At night, we made s’mores and ate dinner under the stars. Without any city or street lights nearby to impede our vision, we had an incredibly clear view of the night sky.  I would go as far as to make the assertion that breathtaking sights like these are a common occurrence on most if not all, Outdoor Pursuits trips.

Another important thing to note about many of the overnight trips is that for the majority of the experience, there will be no cell service. While at first glance this may seem like a dealbreaker to some, trust me, it was a blessing in disguise. With our phones being essentially useless, the members of our group had no choice but to interact and socialize with each other. This not only made way for an enjoyable night of conversation but also fostered a connection between students of different ages and backgrounds for the duration of the trip. As a freshman, this was an especially meaningful experience as I met with new people and felt like we truly bonded.

Over the course of the trip, we completed hikes to waterfalls and watched sunrises. The experience left me feeling refreshed and also granted me a greater perspective. I find that this is valuable while away at school, where your whole world can start to seem wrapped up in assignments, exams, and presentations.

Overall, Outdoor Pursuits is an excellent resource that all FSU students, especially freshmen, should take advantage of. No matter whether or not you consider yourself to be an  “outdoorsy” person, I truly suggest just giving it a try. This program poses a unique opportunity for students to have a quick getaway from college life while also opening up the possibilities to make new friends, connect with nature, and gain lifelong experiences.

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