When I decided to go back to school to become a massage therapist, I thought I’d get an education, but I had no idea I’d get inspiration. I began at Globe University-Wausau campus in the winter quarter of 2013. I had classes of Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology and Swedish Massage. These made sense for my future profession. But I also had a class called Global Citizenship. How did this apply to my future career? Turns out, it didn’t. It applied to my future…period.
They challenged us to do a service learning project by volunteering our time to a charitable cause. Not only to volunteer time, but to truly get involved. Volunteer my time? What time? Two kids, fifteen credits, new to this school thing…how was I going to make time for this? Again, how does this apply to my future career? It didn’t matter. It was part of the curriculum, and I was going to do what I had to do for a good grade.
What I got was so much more than a grade.
In looking for an opportunity for this project, I was excited to learn that there was a fundraiser for Special Olympics in the area, The Polar Plunge. I became a fan of Special Olympics long ago, because of a girl that I worked with who was a Special Olympics athlete. The smile and pride she had after competing was nothing short of amazing. The inspiration had begun.
I arrived before the jump, so I would have time to put my “yellow” (you Globe folks know what I mean) into action and talk to the plungers and other volunteers to see what inspired them. My job was to check wristbands down by the water. I got to see the event up close! The inspiration grew! What an incredible experience…that I never would have done if not “assigned” by Globe. After being there and feeling the overwhelming positive energy swirling in the ice cold air, I decided the next year I was going to take the plunge myself.
While I wanted to take the plunge, I did not want to do it alone and had not been able to convince anyone to join me. It was time to widen the net. Realizing that Globe had a team of five the year before and four of them were no longer at Globe, I saw an opportunity to keep Globe involved. I used my role as Student Ambassador to launch the plan.
We managed to rally a team of eleven people to take the plunge and one to register as a chicken (one that raises money, but isn’t crazy enough to jump). The inspiration was spreading. Each plunger is required to raise $75 to participate, which would mean we would donate a minimum of $825. I was excited to think we could make such an impact. However, we didn’t raise $825…we raised around $1200!! This was not done by the plungers alone. It was done with the help of the Accounting and Business Club. They organized a bake sale and Blu Ray raffle to help raise money for our cause and bring all plungers up to the required amount to participate. The inspiration continues!
The day of the plunge came. I was so excited and wondering if we were a little crazy. The temperature that day was only 8 degrees and the wind was strong! We all gathered in the tent to keep “warm” before the plunge. The tent was filled plungers in crazy costumes, volunteers working the stations, Spicy Thai Band playing great music, amazing energy, and a fun, spirited atmosphere and news crews floating around. Most of us being first timers, we didn’t know what to expect and definitely never expected to be interviewed by Channel 7 News. Even more surprising, we made the cut and were aired that night! Why us? We weren’t in crazy costumes, but we were inspired!
Due to no fault of their own, we were down three jumpers from the team. This was unfortunate, but we were not going to let that impact the true spirit of the day. The time had come. We stripped down to our Globe T-shirts, rushed down the hill to the hole cut in the lake, waited for them to announce our team, Frozen Globe, then the count down, “1…2…3!!!” Into the freezing cold water, we plunged, then as quick as possible we ran to the other side and climbed out, gathered our things, and ran up the hill to the “hot” tubs, only to learn they are not so hot.
Just as I climbed in, the only veteran plunger on our team said, “Want to go again?” I jumped at the chance! Remembering that another team member had asked before the jump if we could jump twice, I grabbed her as well and back down the hill we went for our second jump! My body was numb, my vision was blurred, my hair was crunchy, my spirit was lifted, and my heart was warmer than it had been in a very long time! The inspiration was complete, but not over.
I graduated from Globe at the end of the 2014 winter quarter, but I made sure to find a successor to continue organizing a Globe team for future Wausau Polar Plunges, and I have every intention of joining that team every year from this point on. And I don’t plan to stop there. As I get started in my new career and get a handle on my new schedule, I plan to donate my time to helping at the events as well. I am so glad I had to take that “pointless” class, because it uncovered the inspiration I had buried under excuses and led to a desire to spread the inspiration beyond just me. Globe not only gave me a new career, but a new outlook on the world around me and how I can impact it! Thank you Globe University!
By Jodi Sauld-Draper, Student Ambassador and massage therapy graduate