We all know the routine of the typical college weekend: watch Netflix on Friday, stay in bed for the majority of Saturday, then spend Sunday fighting procrastination and powering through all the homework that was ignored the previous two days.

But let’s switch it up this time: Go to bed early enough on Saturday night to wake up early Sunday morning balancing on a large piece of plastic in a swimsuit in the middle of a lake at 8:00 a.m. for three hours.

While that may sound painful in writing, that’s how I spent my Sunday morning, as leaders for Outdoor Pursuits took me and four other people experience the first trip for stand-up paddle boarding.

Before I write paragraphs about how great it was, let me just admit the hour before we hit the water, I was petrified. Born and raised in Sacramento, I’m not that stereotypical Californian that spent every summer of her life clinging onto her surfboard, drenched in ocean water while scraping sand off the bottom of her feet.

To be completely honest, this was the first time I even touched a paddle board, so the idea of having to balance on it was scary.

Luckily, our instructor driving the van, junior Tristen Nolasco, ended up getting lost in the web of closed roads and construction around Hagg Lake.

This bought me 30 minutes of time to calm my nerves. We all lugged our boards from the parking lot to the edge of the lake, stepping through mud thick enough to be used as sculpting clay.

Eventually there I was, about three feet deep in water (and six inches deep in mud) hugging the surface of my board and chanting to myself, “Don’t fall in. Don’t fall in. Don’t fall in.” And after about five minutes, with the board wobbling underneath my trembling legs, I was certain I was going to get a mouthful of Hagg water so I forced myself to stand up.

To my surprise, after an hour of paddling, two sessions of Tai Chi on the water, 30 minutes and my best friend trying her absolute hardest to push me in, most of us managed to get into the van fairly dry.

We didn’t all leave Hagg Lake with only filthy boards, sweaty life jackets and feet that would take a while to wash off. We left with feelings of relaxation and accomplishment.

Not every college student is able to say that they posed for a photo in the middle of a lake in tiger pose.

Outdoor Pursuits gives us all a chance to experience that and I’m so glad that I took that chance.

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