Today involved the second major trip of the program for all students, Ocean City, New Jersey... or as my friends and I came to call it, Jersey Shore. Normally, adhering to the superstition of Californians, going to the beach would be an amazing experience, however, my day was held back by the surprisingly poor weather. Rather than living up to my expectation of a bright and sunny day, perfect for swimming in the ocean, it was very overcast and dull. However, as I talked it over with my friends, we agreed that we would not let the conditions keep us from making the most of the day.
After about a 2 hour drive to New Jersey we arrived at the boardwalk. My friends and I were very excited to be able to get into the water. A portion of us happened to be from all parts of California, so I guess we fulfilled that superstition in a way. To begin our day however, we walked along the boardwalk, from one end of our boundary to other. Apparel, souvenir and a wide assortment of food shops lined the boardwalk side. When we finally decided that the weather was pleasant enough, which did not take very long as we were all excited to get into the water, we headed back to the beach. From there we got ready and ran to the waters edge. For me this was a major first, as I had never been to a beach on the East Coast before, and from previous knowledge, I knew that it was different in terms of water temperature compared to the beaches back in California. The water was freezing cold at first and it took all of a us a while before we got enough courage to venture deeper in so we could feel the water surround us. Soon we became acclimatized to the temperature and it turned into a rather enjoyable experience. As the waves crashed around us, we did challenges to see who could stand up to a wave and be pushed back the least.
It was a very fun experience just hanging out with my friends on the beach and I feel that it really allowed us to solidify our friendship even more. Over the course of the past two weeks we have grown extremely close, and in large part that is due to our RC who made sure from day 1, to have us establish a close-knit relationship. Now, I consider my RC group as more of a family rather than just a group of friends. It is sad to think that soon we will all head our separate ways once the program ends. However, the plus side is that, contrary to my floormates last year at Columbia, all of them live or study in the U.S.
After a long and exhausting day at the beach, we all returned back to UPenn with a desire to just relax and enjoy the rest of the day. In my opinion, although the day had started differently from what I had wanted it to, ultimately it was an experience that will stay with me forever.