The things I learned on the Outdoor Ed trip

Lindsey Kozel, Editor

I made the fatal error of looking down to the almost endless gap between me and the ground. If I wasn’t scared to repel before, I most definitely was now. The thought of leaning back and putting all my trust into one small rope terrified me. But alas, here I was about to walk down a 90 foot cliff.

After a deep breath, I slowly leaned back and started my descent. 

The farther down I got, the more the butterflies in my stomach faded. My nerves had calmed and I was almost enjoying it. Of course there was still the thought of suddenly falling, but now that was just a small idea in the back of my head. 

Me rappelling down the cliff. (Leah Pranke)

Upon reaching the ground, I looked up to the towering cliff I just walked down and felt accomplished. I was so scared to go at first but once I was actually doing it, it was a piece of cake. 

The Outdoor Ed trip allowed me to overcome my fears and also try a variety of new activities, including repelling. We stayed in Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin and everyday the group got to hike and climb the bluffs. 

The second day of the trip, we climbed a boulder field, which consisted of climbing/hiking across thousands of rocks along a hillside. I was again terrified that a rock would slip from underneath me and I would go tumbling down the edge. But just like before, I learned to love it.

Originally, I didn’t want to go on this trip because I would miss two days of school during our three day week. I was also super behind on college apps and needed that time to work on them. On top of that, the weather was supposed to be very cold which was definitely not ideal for being outdoors 24/7.

As a TA though, it was my responsibility to go and it paid off. Being able to get a break from school and all the pressure of college applications was a weight taken off my shoulders. I didn’t have to focus on all of my looming tasks, instead I could just enjoy the outdoors with my friends. While I did have to wear four layers of clothing to stay warm, I’m glad I went on the trip.

Students navigate down the bouldering field. (Lindsey Kozel)

This trip taught me that you shouldn’t miss out on unique experiences because you don’t want to miss school, or that you will have too much to do when you get back. I took the chance of missing important assignments and tests, because those can be made up, but memories can’t. Before I left, all I could think about was how stressed I was going to be trying to catch up on all the work I missed and while there certainly was a lot of work, it was worth it to go on the trip. Tests and homework can always be made up so if given the chance,  take every unique opportunity that arises or else you may regret it. 

If I hadn’t gone, I would’ve missed out on many small moments and stories. Accidentally burning our pizza on both nights we were there, going for a late night hike to the beach and even a raccoon stealing one of my friend’s bags at 2 a.m.. 

I made so many memories in those few days and even got to know a lot of my classmates better. I undoubtedly recommend going on the ODE trip because it’s not only a learning experience but also a quick escape from reality. It’s an excursion that may challenge you, but the fun-loving environment makes it all worth it.