“Planned spontaneity”

Living day-to-day at college is a lot about sticking to a routine. I get up in the morning, go to class or chapel, fit in meetings with professors and supervisors, eat meals with my friends, rehearse for the play, do homework, scroll on Twitter, and eventually go to bed. It’s not long before I crave something different, something that takes my routine and smashes it to pieces for a few days, and fall break always seems to come at exactly the right time.

About a month ago, I was sitting on my friend’s couch wondering out loud about doing something over fall break that would be more adventurous than going home and watching Netflix on my parents’ couch. This off-handed remark sparked some “planned spontaneity” and a few weeks later, four of us packed up a car and headed north toward the Canadian border. The stress of midterms melted away as we rushed past yellows, oranges and reds on the Minnesota highways.

The great thing about Northwestern is that this college has connections everywhere.

The great thing about Northwestern is that this college has connections everywhere. One of my friends had been on a Spring Service Partnership (SSP) in Grand Portage, Minnesota, a couple years ago and got to know the pastor pretty well. (Shout-out to @thenorthjake. What a great human.) He was willing to let us camp out at Mount Rose Community Church on Saturday night. We were so thankful for a space to play board games and make tortilla pizzas.

When we got to Canada on Sunday, we met our alumni friends who are living in Thunder Bay, Ontario. We ate Finnish pancakes for lunch and hiked a trail system a few kilometers outside the city until we reached the top where hot apple cider was being served. Talk about satisfying! Our adventures continued with a chilly night of camping and an exhausting 20-kilometer hike the next day at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

The whole weekend was breathing in fresh air, and breathing out conversations that were equal parts Disney sing-alongs and the deep stuff. God has created such a wonderful world of trees, lakes, waterfalls, and stars that we sometimes miss out on when we’re caught up in the busy life of a student. Northwestern works hard to give students opportunities to study off campus through study abroad programs and SSPs, but I’m glad my friends and I took this leap of faith and adventured on our own.

So. Here’s a senior suggestion: It’s usually good to get out of your routine and do something different every once in a while, whether that’s crossing the Canadian border or something more low-key. Your mind and your heart will thank you for it.

Alli, Anna, Lindsey, Ashley and me at the top of the trail near Thunder Bay.

Alli, Anna, Lindsey, Ashley and me at the top of the trail near Thunder Bay.