Before the school year began, I made a list of all of the things that I wanted to accomplish within my four years here at the University of Delaware. One of the most important goals I wanted to accomplish was to try many new things. So when the opportunity arose for me to be able to go whitewater river rafting, I quickly rushed to sign up. Little did I know this adventure would allow me to experience more than just river rafting.
We left on a sunny Friday afternoon with a ten hour bus ride ahead of us. I didn’t know anyone else going on the trip, which scared me just a little. I had been used to going on trips without knowing many people, but this was the first time I had done anything like this while I was so far away from home. Therefore those ten hours mostly consisted of me attempting to do homework and napping. When we arrived, I came to my first brand new experience: trying to set up a tent when it was dark and pouring rain. I was used to setting up tents from being in Girl Scouts, but it was freezing cold and all of us were exhausted from the long ride. Luckily with a group of three other girls, we set up our tent and attempted to get a bit of sleep for the long day ahead of us.
Then came the actual whitewater rafting. I expected only to be going into lower level rapids, as this was many of our first times out on the river. However I discovered that we would be going down level five rapids, the highest level anyone is allowed to go down recreationally. Not only did we have to sign waivers with a page full of warnings, but the instructor kept repeating that we could die today. While I knew this chance was slim as we were going with experienced instructors, I still knew that accidents could easily happen. I have always been an adventurous kind of person, but this was the first time I had done something this daring. When we got onto the boat and went through the first series of rapids, I became less worried and was having a great time. Until we made it to our first level 5 rapids. When we were in the middle I remember paddling hard and then just seeing this huge drop of waves before us. We all stopped and just looked at it in shock. After we made it through the drop, we all just started laughing. Even though we still had a bit of fear, it was such a thrilling experience. Making it through these rapids together and spending the day on the boat, brought me so much closer to this group, though I had never met them before.
Later that night, after warming up and eating a delicious dinner, we went to a music performance celebrating the last weekend of the camp, before it closed for the season. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Being from the west coast, everything just felt so different. Being here for the band was no exception. There were so many different people there enjoying the music. There was a old man dancing like there was no tomorrow. A little boy who danced so hard he had to take a break and get water in between the sets. A lady who was aggressively whipping her scarf to the beat of the song. These were only some of the many different people I saw there. I felt like I had become part of a different community, something that I had never truly experienced.
Even though it had been such a short journey, at this point I felt like I had gained so much. I became friends with people that I had barely met a day ago, and we talked as if we had been there for a week rather than just one day. This expanded my horizon, as many of my friends have been honors freshman from living in Redding. These people were from all different places, majors, and years. Hearing their experiences not only made me excited for the future, but made me want to continue going on trips, just so I could continue hearing from people whose lives were so different from my own.
Now that I have gotten this kind of experience, I want to continue putting myself out there, trying things that scare and challenge me. After all you never know what you’ll learn from trying something new until you do it.
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