Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Outdoor Adventure Trip teaches students to “eat the full meal”

Thursday, July 29, 2021
Southeast students stop for a photograph on the 2019 Outdoor Adventure Trip led by Professor Thomas Holman. The trip includes several recreation-filled stops in Colorado.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Holman

As communications major Connor Mobley stood alone at the peak of a 14,000 foot-tall mountain he had summited minutes before, he had a deeper understanding of Professor Tom Holman’s advice he shared with the group enrolled in RC 350. The advice was simple, but also all-encompassing: “Eat the full meal.”

“It means you’re in this class already, so you might as well go for it. You might as well eat the full meal and not leave any stone unturned,” Mobley said. “That is something that I’ve thought about every once in a while. Let’s go a step further and really take advantage of the time we have. Obviously, that phrase can be used for any situation and not just the classroom. So, that’s something I really took with me and maybe even made it my own a bit more.”

Every summer semester, Professor Tom Holman takes a small group of students on a recreation-filled trip to various places in Colorado. The trip is a course offered by Southeast titled Outdoor Adventure Education and is worth three credits to students. All students are required to pay for the three credits and the $500 course fee, which covers all the expenses on the trip.

“It covers all the food. It covers all the gas,” Holman said. “I mean, you get in the van in the parking lot at SEMO that morning, and you don’t have to spend another penny unless you want the T-shirt that says, ‘I survived the Death Rapids.’ Or if we stop at a gas station and you’re jones-ing for a Moon Pie and a Mountain Dew, that’s on you. But, I feed everyone really well. I would challenge anyone to get in a car and do all the stuff we do for $500.”

Some of the different activities students experience on the trip include whitewater rafting, hiking, backpacking and rock climbing. Holman’s only class requirement is for students to keep a daily journal of their time on the trip.

“At the end of the day, they have to keep a journal, and that’s one of the requirements of the class,” Holman said. “I am hopeful that they come back with a deeper understanding of that inner strength they have and what they can really do. In life, we all come up against roadblocks. We all hit the wall, and when you have some kind of grounded thing you’ve overcome, you can apply that to the situation. Finding that inner strength and grit and taking a peek into who I really am — what better place to do it than out in nature?”

Over the years, Holman has taken the adventure trip with students who have a variety of majors. He said he believes social work majors specifically gain a lot from the course since they learn how to interact and develop teamwork with people of different backgrounds. Students are not required to have any prior experience before going on the trip, but Holman suggests students do some cardio training before leaving.

For more information on the Outdoor Adventure Trip and the Outdoor Adventure minor, visit Southeast’s website.