When my parents saw third period Outdoor Ed on my schedule, needless to say they were surprised. I’ve never been a particularly athletic person. Sports just aren’t my thing. To say I’m outdoorsy is a stretch. Gym class in particular has always been pretty brutal for me.
That’s why I chose to take Outdoor Education as my KW class this year. I’m not gonna lie, at first I was intimidated by all my peers with their Nalgene water bottles and Birkenstocks.
I thought that this class would be my way out of having to do the regular, mortifying KW activities like the Pacer Test and volleyball. I would get to just make s’mores and build fires all year, right?
Well, no. That’s not exactly how it turned out. The class is one of the hardest classes of my day. Though the activities are not what you would get in regular KW, they are no less difficult or any less embarrassing. Trying to climb up a 40 foot wall in front of your whole class is as scary as trying to solve a math problem in front of a bunch of MIT scholars.
Putting yourself out there in the open like that and making yourself vulnerable is always scary, especially when you’re out of your element.
Unlike my previous KW classes, Outdoor Ed makes me feel like it’s ok to step outside of my comfort zone and push my boundaries.
Two years ago I was so embarrassed to do the swim unit, and now I genuinely get excited to get pushed off the diving board into the pool in a kayak.
Even my fear of heights has diminished, and just recently I took a helicopter ride without a fear in the world. Usually I would be throwing up in the backseat through the entirety of the flight, but I wasn’t. I was able to enjoy my flight over L.A, and even saw Samuel L. Jackson’s house!
The confidence that I’ve found inside the classroom has positively impacted the things I do outside of the classroom. To be able to say that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and became a better person because of it is really cool.
It’s hard sometimes at this age to balance everything in our lives. When you put yourself in a position that doesn’t allow for change or relaxation, you can almost feel trapped in your own life. Making an effort everyday to do something that makes you happy and makes you a better person isn’t selfish, it’s smart.
Outdoor Ed (along with so many other awesome classes New Trier has to offer) give students the chance to explore interests that they otherwise wouldn’t know they even had.
I’ve changed my whole outlook on outdoor activities and have even incorporated such activities into what I want in my college career.
I hope that if you still have the chance, you choose to take Outdoor Ed. Even if you don’t think that’s your thing, try it out. You won’t grow unless you push yourself, and not just when it comes to Outdoor Ed. Take an art class even if you love math. Take a computer science class even if your passion lies with history.
Make an effort to do and experience as much as you can, and even if you hate it at least you can say you tried.