Escape to the Beach

If you’re an avid UPB blog reader like I’m sure you all are, you may have met me already.  I’m Lindsey, the Graduate Advisor for UPB, and I wrote a post last semester about my obsession with reality television (put your hands up for Flava Flaaaaav!).  I have to admit; lately my VH1 obsession has been replaced with Nickeloden’s “Nick-at-Nite” specials (don’t judge me), but that’s neither here nor there.  I’m here to share with you another newfound obsession; something that holds a special place in my heart. That place, my friends, is the beach.
I think we can all agree that this has been the hottest summer EVER.  Over 100 degrees?  That should be illegal.  After the first 746 people started posting pictures on Facebook of their dashboard thermometers plunging into triple digits, I realized it was going to be the summer of inescapable heat.  My response?  Drive a few states south.  Yep, that college degree of mine is sure working wonders!  But I had no choice-  I desperately needed a vacation and the beach is beyond my favorite place in the world, so when my parents offered to foot the bill for a week I jumped at the chance to tag along.
Anticipation grew exponentially each day that my vacation drew closer.  The morning that we left, I actually woke up at 5 am.  We jumped in the car before the sun came up and drove 8 hours to a little spot called Sunset Beach, which is close to the top of South Carolina.  We’ve been going to the same beach since the year I was born and every year that I get older I’m pretty sure I act more and more like an excited little kid than the year before.  After we had grabbed dinner and unloaded our stuff we ventured out to the water for that first “toes in the sand” experience.
I should probably also admit that I’m actually pretty scared of the ocean and therefore didn’t go out into the water past my knees the whole week.  But to me, that’s not the point.  The beach to me symbolizes freedom, relaxation, and pure happiness.  My days consisted of reading, laying by the water, soaking up sun and listening to the waves.  It was by far one of the best vacations that I’ve ever had, and honestly it was relatively unexciting.  I think back to beach week during my senior year of high school, which was light years different than my vacation this year, but I’ve come to the point where I’m ok with that.
On my last day at the beach I was sitting in a chair at the edge of the water and thought about the upcoming school year.  I closed my eyes and my brain started running full speed in thinking about all of the meetings, classes and events that would start to slowly eat away at my schedule.  For a split second I pondered the alternative.  I could decide not go back to JMU and just live at the beach forever, right?  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how foolish I was being.  The beach is special to me because it’s something I only get to experience once a year, if that.  And instead of enjoying every last minute, I was starting to stress about what life would be like in the next few weeks.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that I learned something that night.  I saved all of those vivid memories from my week at the beach and stuck it deep in the back of my mind so I could always remember it.  Now whenever I start to feel anxiety over all of my commitments and responsibilities, I can remember sitting by the ocean without a care in the world and take a deep breath.  After all, 11 semi-crazy months is really a small price to pay when I know I get to go back to my favorite place again.
More importantly, as much as I may be nervous about the upcoming year, I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without UPB.  I still don’t know everyone in the organization, but I really can’t wait to get to know each of them throughout the next year.  The people in UPB that I’ve met so far have been some of the most inspiring and creative individuals.  They have consistently impressed me with their dedication to the organization.  These are the people who got me involved with higher education and are my motivation to pursue this as a career.
Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find my dream job in Student Affairs… by a beach of course 🙂

~Lindsey Mitchell (Grad Assistant)