One of the most attractive aspects of UCSD as a university, aside from the incredible community and education that it provides, is its location. Right on the ocean. Oftentimes family and friends, when they learned that I was attending UCSD, asked how I could possibly stay in my dorm and focus on my studies when I have the Pacific Ocean right outside my door. To be honest, when I first moved to San Diego as a freshman to attend college I did not quite appreciate what was right in front of me.
Coming from a very desert-like state, the times that I did spend around the ocean were filled with tanning sessions and going into the water up to the waist and squirming if I felt any seaweed train against my ankle. I had this immense fear of the ocean. Sharks and the unknown below the blue ways. Watching one too many Jaws did not do me any good. Not very California girl of me I know, although my sunburnt hair dye job tells another story.
Fall quarter went by and winter started and ended and with that, I slowly began to understand the beauty and excitement that was possible living in San Diego if I started looking in the right direction. So I started focusing in one direction…surfing.
Coming to San Diego, I never even imagined myself even thinking about getting on a surfboard. Out in the open ocean, where who knows what’s under the water. Walking around campus I noticed myself looking at the barefooted people, the sleeves of the wetsuit dragging against their ankles and the most beautiful boards held tight under their armpits. Even though, I was terrified of the water I had this desire to try and make use of the opportunity I had living right by the ocean and feeling the joy and freedom that these surfers seemed to have.
Talking with quite a few students on campus, I learned that I was not the only one that had a strong desire to learn how to surf yet held onto an immense fear of the idea. Whether it was the idea of the ocean, drowning, or simply failing, I realized that I was not the only that wished I could push past my fears and experience surfing for the first time.
Finally spring quarter I tried it. I pushed past my fear and for the first time stood on an eight-foot-long soft top board. Now if you ask me was it worth it? If anyone reading this is currently thinking to themselves, should I try it? My answer to that would be yes! Push yourself out of your comfort zone and give this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity a chance, learn how to surf while attending UCSD.
It probably won’t be pretty at first. My first time wasn’t for sure. I got stuck in a rip current and had to be helped by a lifeguard. However, the second and the third and fourth times just kept getting better and better. I began to see San Diego in a completely different light and was introduced to an amazing part of the community, the surfing community, full of people that were ready to help you learn and grow within the sport.
Do I still get butterflies when I first enter the water? Yes. Am I ready to dive into the deepest holes of the ocean and explore? No. But was pushing myself to experience this newfound freedom in the ocean and as a student at UCSD worth it? 100%.
Hence, what I am trying to tell you is. Do it. If you are considering, stop hesitating and just do it. Sign up with your friends through local shops or through UCSD recreation and learn something that you can carry with you all throughout college and life and become the surfer boy or girl you always secretly wanted to be.