Braving Wilderness

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. (650 words)

Its hairy back flashed across my line of sight. From the perimeter of our campsite, its growls haunted my family. My mouth suddenly dried up, bladder full, and a chill ran up my spine. For a second, my eyes were locked in contact with the bear's dark pupils. My family and I hurriedly corralled back to our minivan. I grasped at the Boy Scout handbook on the backseat. What had my years in Boy Scouts taught a sixteen-year-old me? Grab bear spray? Scream? Its pages flipped through my memories, sending me to another time, another place in the woods.

I'm back in seventh grade. The night's harsh downpour muddied the ground on which I was setting up tents for my troop. As I ventured toward a log, Javier, a fifth grader on his first campout, sat alone. A day-old sandwich, frozen by the weather, was the only food he had left. A gust of wind punctured in between icy raindrops elicited deep sighs from Javier. His despondent gaze shot through my heart.

"It's alright," I assured him. "Let me see that."

I gently rewrapped the crinkly aluminum and placed it on coal embers.

"Take this stick and flip it." I encouraged Javier. "It's grilled cheese!"

He eyed the sandwich, cautiously taking a nibble. "Thanks. It's alright."

Sigh. "I getcha....

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