GOLDEN, BC — Sometimes, it’s necessary to just close your eyes and let your worries and stresses dissipate. Filter through the swirling thoughts of assignments, exams, mid terms, finals, projects, papers, teachers, business plans, and hours of endless powerpoint presentations. Let yourself disappear into your surroundings. Filter in the smells, the feelings, the sounds and the natural beauty all around. Mother Nature and all she encompasses. This is our classroom.
At College of the Rockies, outdoors is your classroom.
Photo courtesy of College of the Rockies
For students of the Adventure Tourism Business Operations program at College of the Rockies’ Golden campus, our classroom is wild. We are lucky enough for our classroom to transform, from time to time, revealing an expanse of wilderness settings. We may not have a cafeteria, but we have Beth’s cooking in Steve’s kitchen. We also may not have dorm rooms, or common areas, but we have the Ontario boys’ house for that. Some may see this as a disadvantage, lacking the amenities and new faces that a city has to offer, but we have something closer to our hearts than any city could ever provide; we have the vast expanse of our backyard.
For us, when we feel the claustrophobic effect of school life closing in, all we have to do is look outside and realize why we pay to go through this turmoil. With a campus surrounded by the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers, and the Rocky and Purcell mountain ranges, there are endless opportunities for us to escape mundane life. Contrary to adventure seekers in larger cities, we do not have to travel far at all, as all our adventures are accessible right in our backyards.
We immerse ourselves in the wonders Mother Nature has to offer. We crave the fresh scent of morning air, the glorious warmth emanating from the sun’s rays and the swift motion of the wind across our skin. We can no longer deny ourselves the natural beauty of the outdoors, the adventures earth’s treasure chest will soon reveal. Consequently, we have all found ourselves in a program designed to keep us living and working in the great outdoors.
Nevertheless, college is overwhelming and overbearing at times. Lucky for us, we get breaks in between; rather than schoolwork beating us down, Mother Nature overpowers us time and time again. Finally, at the end of our break, we have learned to conquer the obstacle at hand. For us, obstacles to be conquered during our first year include; rock climbing, white water kayaking, ski/snowboard instructing, backcountry travel, avalanche training, backpacking, canoe instructing and sea kayaking. Not to mention Natural Interpretation, Computer Studies, Accounting, Outdoor Leadership, Business Communications, Principles of Tourism, Risk Management, Wilderness Travel and the loathed Business Planning. An extensive collection of risky adventures, especially the Business Planning!
Unfortunately, many people today are trapped in a rat race smothered by materialism, rules, regulations, hours of operation, and urbanization. I must say it is refreshing to see eager individuals seeking out rural areas, rural adventures, and rural futures. It is inspiring to hear so many environmental groups and their pushes towards a Greener Globe. We are out there, us nature lovers, and there’s one in every person alive; sometimes, the greener you is buried a little deeper.
Next time you are looking through the glass at the breathtaking views, think of that greener you, that nature lover concealed deep within you. Think of the one hiding under the mass of paperwork, bills, expectations, and the conventional way of life. Be a little different, follow your dream. Don’t forget that nature does not steal your time but amplifies it. That is what our campus life entails - being a little different and amplifying our time, amplifying our futures, getting away from the hustle bustle and surrounding ourselves with what we love.
If, for you, that is the city and the big buildings, then, by all means, follow that dream. For us, however, our ‘big city’ is the great outdoors, and our ‘big buildings’ are the extravagant mountains outspread before us – what better an opportunity than to study what we love?
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