Out and Back

Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

It hit me. Not while I was scaling cliffs that were sculpted with the help of a straightedge, not even while I dreamed that I was suffocating, only to wake up and realize I really did have a snow-covered tarp pressed against my face. Not the first day, or the second, or the 10th day of the trip could even hit me hard enough. Not the snow as it fell off the trees and down the back of my neck, not the branches that the people hiking in front of me released at a full swing, not even the coldest gusts of air that are now tattooed upon my skin hit me as hard as the unfamiliarity with this world that I felt myself lost in.

Not only did the Out Back outdoors challenge hit me, it forced upon me a realization that I never wanted to think much about: failure. I somehow began this trip feeling optimistic. I was excited to leave my everyday routine and try something new for eleven days -- because how bad could eleven days be out in the White Mountains, right? Wrong. My optimism changed almost as quickly as my last few moments in the warmth of the bus evaporated. Of course as a student who has spent her entire life growing up in New Hampshire, I have experienced the frantic weather patterns and unpredictable storms, yet never have I...

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