SIS News Archive

SIS Students Reflect on Week Without Walls
Posted 11/09/2016 02:59PM

Our 9th grade class traveled to a small village north of Qingyuan called Huang Hua or "Yellow Flower". While there, we engaged in physical activities such as rock climbing and biking, cultural activities such as visits to local industry and historical attractions, plus exploratory activities that allowed the students to engage with the natural world. Here are reflections from two of our grade 9 students about their favorite aspects of the trip:

Meghan Kao on Rock Climbing:

My hand slips again. I sigh to myself and close my eyes for a second. When I get nervous or stressed I go through a check list. One: where are you? Two: how do you feel? Three: how can you deal with the situation? I go through it in my head, leaning back into my harness. One: I'm clinging to a rock face, twenty feet off the ground. Two: I feel weak, tired and sore. Three: I can either give up and come down, or keep going and reach the top. I open my eyes. The sky glistens above me, clouds roll in perfect alignment, shrouding the pure blue sky. People say to not look down when you're up high. But I have a decision to make. Am I sticking it through or giving up? I crane my neck to look down. It's not as scary as some people make it out to be. Below, I see my friends gathering in small groups, shouting encouraging sentiments at me. I see instructors directing other climbers. I hear my peers attempting to walk me up the wall with their voices. Each calming note releases my tension a little. Now I realize what I have to do. I'm going to climb. My legs are scraped and battered. My arms barely able to reach for the next rock. People say to not look down when you're up high. When I peered back down to earth, I realized how far I've come. I have classmates, friends, mentors all supporting me. I have the kind and directing words flowing their way up the mountain. This trip is brutal. Nearly everyday there is a moment when I feel like giving up. I go through my checklist. Asses my situation. Lay out my battle plan. But, before I execute any procedure, a friend appears at my side.
I used to think I was alone. I had to fend for myself. I had to fight with all my power against everything the world threw at me. Now after this harrowing trip I realize I'm not as alone as I thought. Every stressful situation I found myself in and every plan to tackle it was disrupted. A friend was there at all times. Either supporting me with words or physically guiding me, I had someone to lean on. The world is far too large to trek alone. This week proved that for me. We are stronger together, we are stronger as a grade, as a group, as friends. I think most of us have the newfound pressure of high school. Cautious of judgment, scared of standing out, terrified of being picked on. This week we were all stripped down to our truest selves. We were all bare and at the mercy of nature. And in this week, we forgot about peer pressure, we forgot our fears. We allowed ourselves to help each other. We allowed ourselves to be helped.
I chose to keep climbing, keep fighting. After all, I had the whole ninth grade behind me every step of the way.

Jimmy Ching on Camping:

The camping night will be an experience that will be in my memories forever. The experience after the sun set is more prodigious, calming, and memorable.
The sun had gone to rest, the moon took its place as the darkness began to surround me. I like the night. The darkness blurs out the images within our sights, except for the stars, like the scattered moondust in the skies, shines over every being of the planet, forcing our attention to witness her beauty. We lay down on the grass with our fellow campmates and it seemed as though the entire world was silenced, setting the stage for just the shimmering stars. They had a faint, silver tint and they looked like they were the distant, glittering sparks from angel fire. The ones furthest away were like flashing torches in a veil of darkness. I imagined that all of them were beacons of hope for all the lost souls of the world.
The moon guided me through the night. Her calming presence made me slowly close my eyes, my body quietly switched off; but she let my soul run free. I inhaled as my worries, my thoughts, silently burned into smoke as they wandered through the endless darkness once more.
As a kid who was raised in the city, a place where stars hate to settle, I had never spent enough time enjoying the purity of our nature. I had never discovered that these objects that are around us are so admirable and stunning. We can see things that are on the other side of the world over the internet in a matter of seconds, but we can not appreciate the beauty that is just around us.
So, I plead for all of us to take our focus off the small screen in front of us that is boxing our thoughts and visions, and to rub our necks and look up and around us. Look at our surroundings in another perspective, and you will discover something special and pleasing. Appreciate the setting that you are in.


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