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Where Do You Belong?

In 1941, a German man by the name of Kurt Hahn invented a concept that shook the educational world. This concept is known as outward bound teaching or expeditionary learning. A question that always crosses my mind is where I belong. I believe I belong everywhere, but if I really thought about it I belong at Odyssey. Odyssey was my middle school and it’s the community that has shaped me the most, it’s the place where my heart belongs. Odyssey isn’t just a school where you go to learn math, science, and english. It’s a school where you learn the qualities to survive life. Odyssey is an expeditionary learning school. J.R.R. Tolkien once said that “The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there.” At Odyssey, we learn by living. We learn by hiking, snorkeling, and taking cultural trips around the world. Not vacations, but expeditions. We do extraordinary things that no other school does like summit Mt. Fuji in Japan or explore the caves of the Channel Islands. Late last year we took our spring expedition to Mt. Whitney and I fell sick on the first night. Whitney was supposed to be one of the hardest expeditions because of the cold temperatures and the fact that it is the highest mountain in the continental Americas and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I had the option to opt out and stay back, but when summit day came rolling around I harnessed my day pack and stepped out of my tent for the climb. I persevered through the pain and reached 10,050 ft and hiked over 10 miles. I pushed all limits to reach my goal and that’s when I realized that out of all the communities I am part of none of them have taught me about myself and none of them have taught me the qualities to live. Learning happens best with emotion and when a challenge is placed in front of you. I discovered my abilities and limits in situations that offered the unexpected. I undertook risks that required perseverance and self-discipline. Odyssey helped me and continues to help me even in high school to overcome my fears and face challenges head-on. I believe people belong where they feel safe yet pushed. That’s why I believe I belong at Odyssey.

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