Amber Stocking

Contributing Writer

As students of Keene State College, we have reached that point in our spring semester where we are arriving back from a well deserved Spring Break and attempting to refocus our attention on educational demands while filling in both friends and family on stories relating to last week.

With that being said, it seems as if the constant in a majority of these stories is alcohol.

For most students of the twenty-first century, Spring Break involves prepping for a week of poor adventure, typically back home or somewhere tropical that boasts opportunity to drink, tan, swim, dance and meet people that have cleared their minds of responsibilities and are looking to make memories not much different from those of a drunken weekend night back at the dorm or favored house party.

Contributed Photo / Brendan Jones

Contributed Photo / Brendan Jones

Nevertheless, there is always that driven group of students notable for seeking chances to steer away from the shallows of an average week off in the spring and create depth within their character.

For some, squaring away time to organize a seven-day excursion is the preferred approach to an opposing direction and for others reaching out to campus-wide clubs that work toward providing students the option to experience something out of the ordinary is first choice.

Keeping that in mind, the KSC EOC is a wonderful outlet for such students and allowed 13 members bonded together by their love for the outdoors to drive down to North Carolina this past week.

Being one of those 13 members, I feel as though I obtained exactly what I sought when requesting that I be apart of the KSC EOC 2016 Spring Break Trip.

I believe that the ability to disconnect from the fast-paced and distracting world we live in is essential, and I think most who have taken the time to do so can attest to that, for there are endless benefits to connecting with nature regardless of the way in which you pursue that connection.

I cannot say that I haven’t spent a night or day drinking to find contentment, but I can say that I have never made a connection while drunk that guided me toward a greater perspective and sense of harmony because my entirety wasn’t present.

Contributed Photo / Brendan Jones

Contributed Photo / Brendan Jones

Being present is an adventure itself, it opens you up to incredible experiences that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible and to be able to share this sensual feeling of enlightenment with others who equally appreciate its power is exciting.

Needless to say, this past week spent with the EOC was awesome, from exploring the Appalachian Underground; Carter Saltpeter Cave to horseback riding through the high country, scenic mountain meadows and wooded areas of Madison County at Sandy Bottom Trail Rides in Asheville to mountain biking through various trails of Dupont State Recreational Forest in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and visiting spectacular waterfalls along the Little River to summiting Mount Mitchel: the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in mainland eastern North America with an elevation of 6,684 feet above sea level.

Throughout this trip I felt that I belonged to this Earth, that I was part of the community of nature.

Although this may sound somewhat trite, I turned my focus away from all comparisons and contrasts between myself and others and I felt whole; I felt the loving presence of everyone around me and was brought closer to my own spirit.

I understand that alcohol and a variety of other drugs may give us instant gratification, that it isn’t always easy to find happiness, that spring break is more appealing on a beach than in a tent, but that sort of happiness can only be borrowed. Take a sip of fresh air.