Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Summer Classes Will Make You Do Crazy Things
Last weekend, some of us from the 2010 class made our way down to Sebastian, Florida for an experience of a lifetime. The level of excitement increased during the hour and a half drive to the jump site. No one could sit still or stop talking about what was about to happen. You could see the anticipation in everyone’s eyes, well everyone but Dean, who in typical Dean style was sleeping. After arriving and filling out all the requisite paperwork, Alejandra, Ben, Dean, Nathalie, Nicole, Steve and I then waited for their chance to board the plane.
With just minutes remaining before takeoff, we were called over to be fitted with harnesses and briefed on the tandem jump. The briefing consisted of four short statements: cross your arms on your chest as you exit the plane, tilt your head back, bend at the waist and put your arms up you when your instructor taps you. After that quick crash course in skydiving, I and three others crammed into a small plane for takeoff. Looking out of the plane windows a few minutes after takeoff, it seemed like we were really high up. Then we found out that we were only half way up. With about two minutes until we reached our jump altitude of 13,500 feet, the instructors attached themselves to us and reemphasized the four statements we had heard on the ground.
Jump time! I was seated in the last position on the plane, therefore observing everyone make possibly their last decision in life, to jump or not to jump. Actions happened far more quickly then I could have imagined. A brief look down as I scooted along the bench towards the open door and Nicole and Steve were already off the plane. Ben was next and then me. In the one second I sat on the ledge of plane, legs dangling over the Florida Coast, my jump training came to me and I crossed my arms and tilted my head back.
Falling towards the ground with the whirling air engulfing you, complete freedom overcomes your body. Fear is not present as you reach a speed of 120 mph, twirling and twisting over amazing views of Florida. After falling 9,000 feet the parachute opens and every sound is silenced. The chaos and stimulation your body had just gone through is transformed in the snap of your fingers into perfect peace. After absorbing five minutes of breathtaking scenery while gently floating towards Earth, everything is restored to normal with a smooth slide landing on the ground.
The experience was remarkable for all seven of us. After the second group had completed their jump, none of us could stop smiling or recounting our individual experiences. Whether it was steering the parachute or going through a cloud during the freefall, everyone’s experience was unique. We are already planning another trip before graduation. After regrouping we headed to Woody’s for some barbeque and then we were off to Cocoa Beach to join up with more classmates for a day’s break from classes. The day was a true three headed monster; great weather, incredible jump, relaxing beach.