“It was a life changing experience.”
That is how I answered questions upon returning from my immersion trip over Spring Break. The same way I answered questions when I returned home from New Orleans in December.
For those of you who have had the unique experience of going on any type of service trip, you know what I’m talking about.
An immersion trip is just what it sounds like. It is a time to be fully immersed in a new culture, in a new setting, away from the nice bubble of college life that we often take shelter in.
It’s a time to look at the world from a different perspective, to leave your comfort zone, to learn, to experience, to change and to find new meaning in life.
During an immersion trip, participants might find themselves in an “immersion high.” A high in knowing that for this one designated amount of time you can dedicate all of your energy and focus on creating change and hope in the lives of others. A high of knowing that you are surrounded by a group of people who all have this one thing in common.
And then, it’s over.
It’s back to campus. Back to dorms and Parkhurst and seeing the squirrels frolicking on the quad.
It’s back to the everyday routine.
Believe me, that routine is difficult to get back into.
Even more difficult is trying to juggle the still lingering immersion trip high, the reality that classes have started and the fact that the immersion is over.
Is the immersion really over?
If I have learned one thing during my immersions to New Orleans and Cleveland it is that the only way to live is to live in the present moment. For if we live in the moment then we will allow ourselves to experience, to grow, and to change.
When I returned to John Carroll just two short weeks ago I knew that my immersion was not over because it had already changed me. It had already allowed me to think in new ways, to experience life in a different light and gain a better understanding of just what my calling in life is.
Whether you have been on an immersion trip or not does not matter.
(If you haven’t you might want to think about getting involved in the May Immersion Trip to New Orleans.)
What matters is that you live in the present moment and allow everyday to be “a life changing experience.”
It could be a trip to an impoverished country, a trip downtown to the great city of Cleveland, or a trip from your dorm to the Dolan Science Center. Let every experience be an immersion experience.
It is all too easy to get caught up in what tomorrow will bring or what happened yesterday. It is always too easy to forget that living life to the fullest can’t be put off until tomorrow because there is too much to do today.
Living life to the fullest can not be something you hoped you would do, but never got around to.
Allow yourself to live life the way you have always wanted to live it. Let yourself be immersed in the experience of everyday life.
At the end of the day be able to say, “This day was a life changing experience.”