Almost exactly a year ago, I was a freshman headed up to McCall with the entire C of I Class of 2015 for the McCall Wilderness Experience. The Class of 2016 is days away from making the same trip.
The McCall Wilderness Experience functions kind of like a giant icebreaker. There are games, canoes, cabins, docks—the works. There will be speeches and questions and answers and a lot of asking people what their major is or where they’re from. You’ll learn some 200 new names, spend time with your dorm neighbors, and generally meet the people you’ll be around for the next four years. The C of I website will tell you that some of your best friends can be made during this trip. Some people do find their new best friend while waiting in line for a canoe ride. I didn’t.
McCall wasn’t my gateway to close friends and great memories. I walked away from the busses back feeling pretty isolated. I worried that I’d be that kid who didn’t make any friends and would miss out on that time period where everyone is getting their footing; I didn’t come back from the wilderness experience with much evidence to the contrary. McCall made me pretty uncomfortable.
But that’s the thing about college—it makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s the ideas you encounter, or challenges to your ideals. Or it’s meeting people with radically different views. Or it’s not knowing anyone in the room or not knowing who you’re going to sit with for dinner.
In my experience, all the good stuff came because uncomfortable didn’t stop me. I didn’t hole up in my dorm room. I didn’t go back to my home in Boise every weekend. I didn’t refuse to consider new ideas or new perspectives.
The results? There’s a community I can’t wait to get back to.
Megan is a sophomore international political economy major from Boise, Idaho.