As we hop on the bus, looking forward to the days ahead at Bivouac, I think about what they might bring this year. Will the weather hold? Who will my squad-members be? Are we going to get our A-frame up on time? The bus pulls away, and the students of BB&N who are staying at school to study, rather than playing in the woods, wave good-bye to the Class of 2023 and shout out encouragement.
I've been through this before and I vividly remember the first time around. I had been on the late side for the bus. I sat as far forward (and close to the guides) as any other student dared to go, with a quiet, albeit slightly lonely, row to myself.
But this time, it is different. Those kids cheering on the side of the road are now my friends. I sit even more forward in the bus, but this time it is for a reason. I am a Junior Guide, going through the same steps that occurred a brief 24 months before when I was a freshman. To my surprise, the week is filled with nostalgic moments, as I think about everything that I hadn't known then.
The massive charter buses impossibly fit up Marienfeld Lane, causing a familiar ruckus of awestruck freshmen wondering whether the bus is truly off the road, or whether it simply appears that way from inside. When the kids rush to get off the bus, I am one of the people telling them not to simply run for their luggage but to get in their squads first, and I remember worrying about my own luggage, wondering why I couldn't just get it that very moment I got off the bus.
My Junior Guide experience isn't the same as being that wide-eyed freshman student, wondering who of the 120 new faces will be my friend for the next four years. No, this time I am looking after them, seeing myself in them, and understanding what they are going through. I know it's going to be a long few weeks for them, but in the end, they are going to learn what Bivouac is all about.