As I am close to starting my final study abroad class in Costa Rica, I want to reflect back on how much I have learned not only inside the classroom but also outside of that setting as well.
Earlier this month, I did zip-lining twice, once with San Luis Canopy Tour, located within the Alajuela province in San Ramon which was such a thrilling experience that I got to experience with my Sol Mates. We encouraged and motivated one another as we each gathered the courage to do the more adventurous aspects of the adventure park like the Tarzan Swing and the Superman through a majestic cloud rainforest. You can see how excited I was for this in the image below!
The second time I did ziplining was in a smaller group setting with Titi Canopy Tour, which is based out of Quepos, a small town minutes away from the Manuel Antonio National Park. The private reserve in which the canopy tours is actually considered a level two type of forest because it has practically been pretty much untouched/disturbed by human activity, meaning that most of the forest is intact in terms of its biodiversity since the tours are not disrupting the natural environment of the native flora and fauna of the Quepos province.
Although I had done bungee-jumping in Monteverde, I do not think that adequately mentally nor physically prepared me for how exhausting I felt for days after my first ziplining trip but nevertheless it was completely worth it! I’m really glad I did ziplining once more after my initial trip because I was able to get the hang of it (literally and figurately) a lot more quickly since I had undergone a similar outdoor-based trip the previous weekend in San Ramon. If you had asked me six months ago if I would have ever done either bungee-jumping or zipling (two weekends in a row!) I would have never believed you.
What I took from these somewhat spontaneous, adrenaline-filled trips was that I would have 110% regretted not doing them and we can compare this to the opportunities that present themselves before us, daily. Apply for that job or internship, apply for that prestigious fellowship or scholarship, turn in that mentorship application – the point is that you do not have anything to lose if you do go ahead and tackle those very things that you are afraid of taking on! Do not let fear overwhelm you and overcome those doubts to potentially be presented with a great opportunity. The worst thing that could happen is that you get rejected and you can use that means to acknowledge it as a valuable lesson but first you must be willing to overcome those fears and doubts that exist within yourself to understand what is waiting behind those doors of opportunities.
One of the most mentally challenging things I did on my second zip-lining trip was the Tarzan swing, which was much more different that the first one I did was I was not launched into the air but rather was (safely attached of course ) on the literal edge of the metal platform and I felt my heart sink into my stomach as I saw how quickly the plunge was before I fully swung into the distance. I was genuinely terrified of the looming view over the edge as I knew it was a semi-deep plummet and for a split-second, I wanted to skip this portion of the canopy tour but I also knew deep down that I might never have an opportunity like this. My partner, my fellow trip-goers and the tour guides strongly encouraged me to go ahead and with their help, I mustered up the courage to do the Tarzan swing and it was such a dare-devil move from me that I would have never anticipated from myself. I believe I owe a great deal of the confidence that has grown within me in the last couple of months, to the great support of friends, guides, peers and educators that have gently pushed me beyond my boundaries of comfort.
I cannot thank them enough for the endless amount of motivation and encouragement that they have given me. I think it is so important to surround yourself with individuals who want to see you grow as a person and who want to make a positive impact in your life and I am extremely thankful to have found such group, placed in my life. I hope anyone that reads this, builds up the courage to try something a bit beyond their comfort zone and to seek out friendships with individuals who genuinely care about your growth as a person in whatever aspect that applies to you in, whether that is pushing you to do an academic paper or to jump of the ledge so you can experience the adrenaline of a Tarzan swing!