Making memories isn’t worth risking your life

North Wind Staff

One of the main reasons students pick Northern as their university of choice is the surrounding nature. Marquette is full of opportunities to hike, swim, kayak, cliff jump, bike, and ski in the area.

While these activities are fun, there’s a certain level of risk carried with them.

Many freshmen begin their experiences here by taking a plunge into Lake Superior from a cliff, or hiking into the wilderness for a late-night bonfire. These activities build memories that last for your entire college career, and probably pick up a few new best friends along the way.

But a light-hearted dive into Lake Superior can quickly turn scary. Swimming in a lake without knowing about forces in the water has a chance of turning deadly.

We can be as brave as we want, thinking that we’re strong swimmers who can take on a rip-current or chilly temperatures, but all that can change in a life-threatening situation.

These judgements are even more hazy under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Education is important when experiencing a new location. Too many newcomers to the area aren’t aware of currents in the lake, or how cold the water can actually be.

It can be life-saving to know details about the warning flag system, or what to do when you’re caught in a rip current or channel current (and, knowing the distinct difference between the two).

Weather has an impact on the area as well. Even though it might be cool to go out and take pictures of the huge waves during high winds, or go out on a winter night during icy temps to finally see the Northern Lights—there’s a reason why these activities are dangerous.

Waves can hit you suddenly and sweep you out to fast-moving water, or hypothermia can set in quickly during chilly nights. While all of this might seem like common sense, it’s not rare to hear about a death in the area due to drowning, a hiking or biking mishap, or some other accident.

It’s best to educate yourself before venturing out somewhere new for the first time.

The balance between having fun and risking your life is very real, but the seriousness of dangers in the local area is also just as evident.