Don’t sit in geology class and take notes; sit at the Grand Canyon and take pics

Some of you may have heard about BGSU’s GeoJourney program:  a nine-week camping trip across the United States where you visit 24 states and 30 national parks, while getting 18 credit hours.  

Well, I got back from the all trip around Halloween time, and it was one of the BEST EXPERIENCES OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!  Normally, you go on the trip as a freshman or sophomore (which I would suggest), but I wanted to experience the trip so I went on it as a junior.

The trip isn’t just like any vacation, though.  You do have to do class work, write essays and takes exams.  The classes and material covered was extremely interesting (and science is not my favorite subject).  You get credit for two geology classes, an environmental science class and an American culture studies class.

Most of the classes were lecture and lab-based.  You will stop in National Parks, take a hike and then observe and identify rocks, discuss how the geology was formed and discuss if any Native American cultures once inhabited the area. 

Instead of sitting in a classroom looking at a slide of the Grand Canyon and learning the geology, I was sitting on the edge of it learning about the geology.  This method of hands-on-learning made it easier to learn the material.

Up to 24 students can go on the trip, so there is an application process.  The best part was you not only got to take classes with these people, but you lived with them for nine weeks. It can sound intimidating, but I met so many people that I can now call my friends, and a few that are my new best friends.  In addition, I learned a lot about myself and who I want to be as a person. 

Now that the “boring” part of class discussion is over, I want to fill you in on some of the most exciting parts about the trip.  First, you do sleep in a tent every single night.  I thought this was going to get old, but became more fun each night (if you go, ask about group tents). 

When I talk about camping, I don’t mean completely roughing it.  You don’t have to dig a hole … if you get what I mean.  There are showers and toilets available at each campground.  I am proud to say that I made it 10 days without a shower, which is a new personal record. This was all by choice, of course.

In addition to getting food cooked for you every day, the staff will also drive you around everywhere. This was an awesome chance to take a nap during a long drive or maybe watch an educational video on the giant flat screen TV inside each van.

I had never been out West, so each place was brand-new and exciting.  My top national parks are as follows:

  1. Glacier National Park, Montana
  2. Yosemite National Park, California
  3. Zion National Park, Utah
  4. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
  5. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

This list continues on, and it was difficult enough to rank the top 5! The best part about going on the fall trip is I have NO, that’s right, NO CLASSES for the rest of the fall semester.  No finals, no homework, no papers.  So, you can either hang out in BG or go home. 

Now that January is approaching, I am getting nervous to start “normal” classes again.  If you want some more information about that GeoJourney trip go to .   I cannot express how AMAZING this trip is and the new opportunities it has brought to my life.

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