Jake Johnson '17, middle, along with friends Mern Singh and Cory Cline.
Jake Johnson '17 Puts His Own Twist on the College Experience
Staying out late, sleeping in, and the inevitable procrastination over assignments. Jake Johnson '17 saw a problem with the monotony of college weekends. And like any engineer worth his salt, Johnson came up with a solution. The Christ School alumnus helped conceptualize the YouTube channel Nxt Adventure, which debuted in August and has been a vessel for Johnson and his friends to put their own twist on the college experience. You might say the sky has been the limit so far – one of the first videos uploaded to Nxt Adventure is Johnson and others sky-diving in onesie pajamas. Next month, the plan is even more audacious – Nxt Adventure will attempt to visit 10 different countries (Morocco, Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Italy) in 24 days. Johnson, now in his second year as an Ivy League student, had just wrapped up exams on Monday when he talked about what lies ahead for him and Nxt Adventure.
Question: How are you enjoying Dartmouth?
Answer: Things are incredible. Dartmouth is a dream come true. If you talk to (Christ School Director of College Guidance Kirk Blackard), Dartmouth was a goal of mine for certain. The fact that it has lived up to those expectations is unreal. Right now, I just finished exams. We get a lot of snow here and there is a Winter Carnival (scheduled for February 7-10). (Traditionally), there is a student-led effort to build a giant snow statue. I am one of two engineers who are working on designing and building a statue.
Question: What inspired you to start a YouTube channel?
Answer: Last year, my friend and I were sitting around and thinking about the schedule that every college student falls into, especially on the weekend. When you graduate, you're not going to remember all the frat parties you went to or sleeping in. But if you go sky-diving, you'll remember that. So we decided to do an adventure a week and film it for YouTube. The idea was to take us out of our comfort zone. We based it on a channel called Yes Theory which has been a huge inspiration for us.
Question: Tell me more about this trip you are taking next month. And is everything planned out with Nxt Adventure or mostly spontaneous?
Answer: I've got a Eurail (train) pass and a passport. The idea is to do 10 countries in 24 days, but the whole trip is pretty much in the air. We're going to try to shoot an adventure video every day. Realistically, we may spend a couple extra days in somewhere like Paris or Amsterdam. I'm going to get to see (former Christ School roommate) Milan Horn. We roomed together my senior year and he was in the ASSIST program. It'll be fun to see him. A lot of the videos we do are pretty spontaneous. We do have the next 22 videos planned out. A couple on the books now are the longest sledding track in Switzerland and kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland. Hang-gliding and bungee-jumping in the spring are possibilities. It's all just a whole lot of fun.
Question: When you look back, how did Christ School prepare you for the future?
Answer: One big aspect is something that I didn't realize until this year. Every Sunday, I tidy up my room. Not up to white-glove standards, but I still clean. When people ask me why, I say to them that it's Sunday and that is what I'm used to. Christ School ingrains great habits and I'll be forever thankful for that.