As an athlete, I try to be in control of almost every aspect of my life, from when I go to bed, to what I eat, so on race day, I know exactly what I can bring to the table. Starting a college career is a little mindboggling. Midterms, papers, and extraordinary amounts of reading call for late (or) sleepless nights and classes demand an early wake up. When you combine those together with the fact that all your friends are present as distractions at any and all times, you have a seriously unpredictable existence.
The nice thing about colleges these days is that they have great methods for introducing you to this organized chaos – freshman outdoor orientation trips. I showed up for check in as overwhelmed as any, and was relieved when the trip leaders called us into our specific groups so the awkward mulling around could end. After introductions and some entertaining sleepaway camp styled games, the trip leader, Jeremey asked if anyone knew the time. In sync, a few of us pulled up our sleeves and informed him of the time, but to our surprise, instead of ending there, he took our watches. The first rule of trips, Jeremy informed us, was that there was no time.
Time was my anchor, my sensation of control. How I would function was something that was way beyond me. I had camped before, but always with the security blanket of my watch. Taking away my watch not only exposed an untanned stripe, but it also exposed my distrust of my own body clock. Throughout the next week, I learned how to let time go. Even though the sun might be directly overhead, if I wasn’t hungry yet, I didn’t feel compelled to eat. Or if we were at camp and I was exhausted, I took a nap. By the time I got back from our orientation, I didn’t know whether I wanted to cover up my newly sunburnt wrist, and even though all the midterms, papers and readings might have me dependent on my watch once again, I definitely plan on going watchless more often. If only for an overnight or just a lazy Sunday hike with friends.