Bethany Bristow Written by

Final year

BA (Hons) Communication & Media

One of the society members free falling.

My knees are tight against my stomach as I crouch on the solid plane floor. Multiple heads with helmets sit before me,  packed in like sardines, eagerly awaiting their turn. Now and again, their faces peer back, some eyes filled with fear, others glistening with excitement. As the engine roars and the plane propels upwards, the green fields become like tiny play mats below, until finally all I can see is endless blue skies. The plane door has now been flung open and the wind is gushing in, madly swirling around the parameters of the plane and my legs are now shivering from a combination of nerves and the chill.  The instructor is shouting something, probably best I listen. What is she saying? Nope, I missed that. Right okay, people are shuffling forward, the first ones about to jump. I keep trying to catch my friends eye to express my sheer panic.  Any reassurance to calm my nerves.

Blink of an eye, first one’s jumped. They’ve gone. They were on the plane and now they’re G-O-N-E.  It’s okay, they’re safe. They are now parachuting over the Dorset countryside. Moments pass, each one of us has jumped, and now I’m being summoned to shuffle towards the door. Deep breaths, it’s okay. I’ve trained a whole 6 hours for this. Wait.. 6 hours!? Is that it? 6 hours to know how to save my own life and how to land after jumping from a plane at 3000 ft? Calm down. The instructor’s looking at you. Your turn to jump, you can do this. Perching my leg out of the soaring plane, I glance up, hold my breath..  and release! Catapulting out of the plane into the open depths of the outside and into one the most breath-taking moments of my entire life.

My housemates in second year initially joined the BU Free-Fall club and are now committee members of the society itself. They used to come home ecstatic, raving about the unbelievable experiences they had jumping out of a plane, but it never really crossed my mind that it was something I could do. Towards the end of my 3rd year in placement, we all met up again and were randomly chatting about our lives and achievements. They were now on their way to their sky diving licence, meaning they could free fall by themselves from 13,000 feet, with a free fall of about 60 seconds. I asked how many girls were on the society and they said only 1. Then it hit me. I’d never had an issue with heights before and I love anything adrenaline related, so I began to picture myself jumping out of the plane. What an amazing hobby to say you have. From that day on, my friend and I vowed to join the BU free-fall society in our final year and be representatives for the girls.

A couple months in and I have completed my training and successfully jumped twice out of a plane with a static line.  The more jumps you do, the more you can progress to free falling and your licence, meaning you can jump anywhere around the world. I can honestly say, it was one the most terrifying, exhilarating and incredible experiences I have ever had, and I can’t wait until I can jump again. Doing a hobby like this pushes your boundaries, tests your fears, and when you come out of the other end, your feelings of accomplishment are sky high. It’s something I can surprise people with in conversations, scare my family members with, and talk about to possible employers. I recommend anyone to do it, especially whilst you’re at University, as you can benefit from the discounted rates and jump with like-minded people from the university, all who are probably equally as petrified as you. So, go on, come out of uni with not only your degree, but also memories that will most definitely last a lifetime and talents you can carry with you throughout your whole life.

The free fall 2017 group, pictured right before our first jump.

 

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