Unfamiliar experiences? Yeah, I guess I'm the one who always hesitates before trying a new adventure. There is one major event that comes to mind when I think of the many things that I have accomplished. Rock climbing. Yes, you've read correctly, rock climbing. Fears concerning unfamiliar experiences are feelings I wish to overcome during life.
It was sixth grade, and I was eleven. In Wethersfield, all sixth-graders are required to embark in the R.O.P.E. Program, which stands for Right of Passage Experience. Its main idea is to trust your peers, work together, and experience new adventures. Programs include falling backward and trusting peers to catch you, working together to fit into a small circle, rock climbing and rappeling, and crossing over a brook while attached to a rope. These programs are designed to get sixth-graders ready for experiencing unfamiliar areas of their lives.
I was ready to participate in these designated activities. Falling backward and fitting into a small circle were nothing to me. Crossing over a brook with nothing holding me up but a rope and harness was daring, but I could handle it. Finally the day came when my sixth grade class would travel to Ragged Mountain in Southington to climb and rappel a mountain. Those people who were too scared were allowed to practice climbing and rappeling a smaller area of rocks, but that wasn't for me. I could climb the big mountain. Until this moment there were no unfamiliar events that I couldn't tackle.
My turn arrived. As I was attached to the harness, I thought how I was about to tackle the mountain. I got a quarter of the way up but couldn't seem to get any farther. I tried and tried. I began to put myself down and cry. Although they were very supportive, there was nothing more embarrassing than my classmates and ROPE leaders looking at me. All I kept hearing was "Lisa, you can do it. Try to fit your foot in there. Come on, Lisa you're almost there."
It was then that I thought to myself Why am I crying; I can do this. Almost immediately I began to venture up the mountain, Within five minutes I was at the top. Because I had taken awhile to get up the boulder and my turn was late in the day, I didn't have a chance to rappel back down. As I think back on it now, I wish I had had more time. After making it up, I could have climbed back up and down five hundred times!
Well, I did it - confronting an unfamiliar event and succeeding, all in the same day. I now believe, as a seventeen-year-old high school senior, that that day has made me stronger. That event made me the strong-spirited person I am today. Also, I am no longer afraid to confront unfamiliar experiences. Confronting unfamiliar fears is an important part of growing up. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.