On & Off Campus Blog

Bivouac: so begins the journey of the unforgettable ninth grade year
Bivouac: so begins the journey of the unforgettable ninth grade year
Jack Haining '22


All of those who have been through ninth grade at BB&N have their own memories of Bivouac. Regardless of whether it was your cup of tea, it is certainly a highlight of freshman year. One of the many aspects that makes the camping trip so unforgettable is the surprises it holds for each student. Looking back on Bivouac now, it is clear Bivouac was a prelude to the numerous surprises that ninth grade would bring.

This is best exemplified by the story in which a spider the size of a quarter was sighted on our tent one night. I have never seen fear rid the confidence and bravado from a group of guys quite like it did in that moment. And, without the wise words of the internet to guide us on what to do in such a scenario, we came to some interesting conclusions. Somehow, we decided that the size of the spider must correlate with how poisonous it was. Thus, we also decided that action had to be taken. 

After about half an hour of gentle hyperventilation and nervous fidgeting around a flashlight at midnight, the plan was devised. Half of us were to hold the spiderless side of the tent taught while the other half would crowd around the spider and take a swing at it. And though there was some debate over whose shoe was to be used to hit the spider, we came together to rid ourselves of this supposed threat to our safety. 

A squadmate of mine pulled his arm back to take a swing… and missed wildly by a foot and a half. The three of us on the side of the tent with the spider offered what, at the time, seemed to be the logical response and began shouting and stripping off any item of clothing the spider could have possibly lodged itself onto. So, yes--in my opinion, Bivouac is a memorable part of freshman year--if for no other reason than for my memories of arachnophobic stripping at half-past-midnight.

There is a cornucopia of other stories and experiences from Bivouac and the rest of freshman year that could be considered highlights. Each squad surely had their own. Even with this in mind, I still feel that this rather terrifying story encapsulates the overall experience of my freshman year. 

From making a plan of action, to deciding what materials to use, to working together, our squad bonded on a level rarely found in other opportunities than in the pitch-black campsites of New Hampshire. Throughout the surprises and turns of freshman year, similar bonding and community building occurred, making it an unforgettable year for all of us.