Plunging into the New Semester with Yale Outdoors

photo of friends standing before polar plunge

Every year, Yale Outdoors, one of the many clubs at Yale, hosts a polar plunge. After witnessing my friends jump into the frigid waters of Long Wharf Beach in the previous year, I was determined to join in on the adventure. Usually, I am not this gutsy but with this being my last semester at Yale, my motivation to complete my Yale bucket list was at an all-time high. Thus, this led me to convince a group of friends to jump into a freezing body of water with me and dozens of other Yale students on a random Saturday morning in January.

friends walking to zipcar in polar plunge outfits
Packed and ready to polar plunge

Before jumping into the frigid waters of northeast winter, my friends and I made sure to come prepared, with towels, a change of clothes, and water-friendly shoes. After arriving at Long Wharf, we waited outside for the much-anticipated plunge. Slowly but surely, groups of students began to arrive and the crowd became larger than expected. Despite the rainy weather earlier this week, we were very fortunate to have some sun and mild 40-degree Fahrenheit temperatures.

a photo of my taking a photo of my friendspicture of the beach
The calm before the plunge haha

After the organizers from Yale Outdoors rallied the students, and everyone was in their polar-plunging outfits, we all spread out into a horizontal line. On a count of 3, over 100 students ran towards the unforgiving waters. On contact, I felt the coldness of the water seep into my core. However, I was surrounded by my closest friends and the combination of the excitement/shock/pain from everyone’s reactions to the water as well as my own made me momentarily forget about the coldness of the water.

Once the shock of being in freezing water wore off, I quickly made my way out to the shore, eager to be bundled up in dry clothes and to regain feeling in my feet. Although the entirety of the experience was less than five minutes long, the anticipation of running into the water, the aftereffects of the cold and shock from the experience, and the calming sensation of an ice bath made it worthwhile. Of course, after the event, my friends and I decided to treat ourselves to brunch as a much-needed reward for surviving the cold, and another bucket list item was completed.

brunch after polar plunge
Post plunge brunch!!