On & Off Campus Blog

Rising to the challenge of Bivouac
Rising to the challenge of Bivouac
Dylan Saunders '21

All my life I have thought of myself as a city boy.

I would take my ideal vacation to New York or Washington, D.C. instead of somewhere rural. Something about the busyness and the life of cities draws me in. The diversity of people, places, cultures, stores, and architecture are what I love about cities. When I go outside the city, where not much is happening, I often become bored and end up longing for Boston.

Therefore, one year ago, when I first learned that I would be going to New Hampshire and sleeping in a tent for ten days, I felt very reluctant. Not only would I be in the woods, but I would be with a group of new classmates whom I had never met before. All my life, I had gone to school in Marblehead, where I knew everyone in my grade and had gone to school with the same friends for as long as I could remember. Because of this, I had not made too many new friends since I was very little, which made the switch to a new school in which I knew nobody all the more difficult. The thought of being with a group of unfamiliar people, building an A-frame, cooking meals, and sleeping in a tent with these new classmates scared me.

The result: utter fear. I was afraid to be away from home, and I was afraid to be alone. The night before I left, I could not sleep. I kept thinking of the bad things that could happen while I was away. What if I didn't make any friends? What if I got lost? Then I thought of the things I knew I would be required to do: bathing in a freezing cold lake; sleeping on a mat; cooking food. These thoughts raced through my head as I lay, shaking from nervousness, in bed.

But despite all of my reluctance and fear, Bivouac turned out to be a great adventure. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone, which helped me grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. I learned many useful skills about the outdoors and gained a new appreciation for nature. I met many new friends and made memories that will last me a lifetime. This experience changed me in a positive way, and I learned much about myself. Most importantly, I learned not to be afraid to try new things and to rise to new challenges.