Attention patrons of New Voices. You be pleased to know that I have finally figured out how to keep from going crazy in this time vacuum that is Skokie, IL. As much as I love my hometown, the prospect of being away from my beloved Knox is unbearable without some way to channel my energy. I swore I’d never go back to high school, but I could not make good on my promise.
My high school alma mater, Niles North, has a marvelous program called “Adventure Education.” It’s your basic wall climbing, kayaking, rappelling, gym class and wow, did I love it! I was in this program for two years: first, as an entry level student, then as an advanced student/ teacher’s assistant. Now I will be returning as a college student to be a class aid and to encourage new high schoolers to use this class to step outside their comfort zone.
I used to be terrified of heights, but Adventure Ed. cured me of that. Leaning over the edge of the bleachers, with one hand tucked behind me and feet braced against the side, I would admire my parallel view of the gymnasium. Then, like a member of the SWAT team, I would delicately push off from the wall and sail through the air. Rappelling became so ingrained in my system that heights didn’t scare me anymore. I felt invincible. And that confidence helped me find my niche at Knox remarkably quickly.
But Adventure Ed. also helped me leave my post at the sidelines and actively pursue and experience what interested me. This class taught me to face my fears and try new things — what I have found college to be all about. So while I eagerly await my return to Knox’s campus, I will volunteer, once again, at the place that most prepared me for the challenges of college. I will teach a new group of Adventurers how to climb and rappel with ease, how to laugh at fear, and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.