QUEST Takes to the Skies

Quest Takes to the Skies

By: Allan Nicholas

It was a particularly sunny morning on April 14th 2013. As 11 brave individuals of Cohort 20 trickled into Bagel Place, each prepared mentally for the skydiving adventure that awaited. Compelled by the bargain of a Living Social deal, these QUESTees were ready for a once in a lifetime experience.  And as the caravan of students finally left College Park, the situation became all too real. While some of us were calm and collected upon departure, the car ride down provided ample opportunity to freak out.

Would my parachute open? Do I tell my parents I love them one last time? What if a bagel was the last meal I ever ate?

These questions often came to mind during our trip to the DC Skydiving Center (which ironically isn’t close to DC). We signed the necessary waivers and initialed our souls (and all liability of our impending doom) away to the skydiving gods. One by one, as our names were called, each of us stepped up to finalize our equipment preparations. We piled into a beaten up Cesna, and the propellers began to twirl. As our plane slowly lifted into the air, with the impish joking of our professional jumpers in the background, I proceeded to really freak out.

Reaching optimal altitude, it was the moment we all were waiting for. Its hard to articulate the feeling you get when you look back and the person who was once next to you is just gone in the blink of an eye. One by one we began to disappear and finally my time came. My instructor and I waddled to the back of the plane and stopped on the edge. Peering over, the perspective was awesome. With one deep breath we leaned forward as I accepted my fate. What followed was an experience like no other. The feeling of free fall is incredible. Falling hundreds of feet every second, I lost orientation of what was ground and what was sky. Adrenaline surged through my veins, and I had to place all my faith in the nylon straps holding me to my instructor.

Reaching optimal altitude, my instructor pulled the cord and the moment of truth was upon us. Alas, the parachute released and we were saved! The next two to three minutes I experienced a scenic cruise unlike any other. Approaching the ground, cars grew from ant size to their normal proportions. Gliding in the sky, I felt disconnected from the world. All the cars and people below me were going about their business while I hovered gracefully (or fell fearfully) above them. It was a very surreal feeling.  Preparing to land, my instructor told me to kick my legs up, and our butts hit the ground with a thud. Just like that I was back on precious land. And that’s how QUEST conquered the sky.

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