The trip was much more to me than a chance to experience nature; it gave me a preview of my life at college. I had wonderful discussions with my fellow hikers and everyone got along incredibly well. As I worried less about being an outsider, I got to finally open my eyes and enjoy how beautiful nature is. I came back from the trip with so much more than backpacking experience and a sense of achievement.
This trip boosted my confidence about going into college. I went in barely knowing anyone, questioning if I would fit in, but came back with a group of close friends. Basecamp truly impacted the beginning of my journey at UW Madison, and there is not an ounce of regret that I have for going on the trip.
Those five days of Basecamp were packed with some of my favorite memories from the summer before starting college. We learned to cooperate together for the common good when we all helped out prepare meals, set-up tents, and fetch clean water. Even though it all felt like so much work and a lot of walking, when we sat down to eat, to go swim, or gaze at the stars; it all became worth it.
Being from Orange County, light pollution prevented me from knowing what the night sky truly looked like. On one night, my friends got me to go to a dark spot on the edge of the lake where we could stargaze despite my being terrified of the “windigos” I had heard about from a campfire story. The sky was riddle with twinkling stars. I’m pretty sure we all cried a little as we held each other arm-in-arm while watching several shooting stars scratch the night sky.
I was so grateful to go on the Basecamp trip, and I got a lot out of the experience. More than anything, I enjoyed being exposed to the different types of people and personalities of students and their perspectives on coursework and academics. The leaders were more than willing to answer our questions and made sure that everyone felt at ease about entering their freshman year. I’m glad I got the experience of being surrounded by an entirely new group of people before I was thrown into that experience at Madison myself. It was definitely a change of pace, but it made the transition so much easier.
The friendships I made at Basecamp have helped my transition to UW-Madison by giving me a support group that I know I can depend on. Other than the people, the thing I most enjoyed about my trip was spending time around the fire at night. Those times were special to me because we got to sit back, relax and tell stories. Just being able to be together and share about ourselves was very cool because I got to know people that I otherwise would never talk to.
The Basecamp trip gave me a head start to the school year that a lot of other students missed out on. Advice on college from the leaders and going into the school year with friends already made are a lot greater benefits than they sound. To have a solid base of people you trust and can rely on really makes a large difference. Also, thanks to my leaders and their expert advice, it was easier for me to stick true to my morals and not lose myself in the chaos of college life.
When I first heard about UW-Madison's Basecamp trip, I knew it was something I needed to be a part of. I grew up camping, hiking, and spending time outdoors with my family, so I thought that finding people like-minded before I arrived at campus would be a fantastic idea. I was also becoming increasingly nervous about leaving home for the first time, so being immersed with a group of strangers for five days as a preparation for the first week of college also seemed good for me. Little did I know how wonderful an experience this trip would be, not only for preparing me for college, but also for giving me skills I never thought I would learn.
When I decided to enroll in a school with 40,000 kids, I had my doubts and my worries. Sure, I was confident I would discover my way and prosper in school, but there was more on my mind. I was most apprehensive about finding my niche and discovering a circle of friends with the same interests and views as I have.
[Going on a Basecamp trip] seemed like a no brainer to me at the time, but as the date approached, I was once again filled with worries: What if I don’t click with anyone on my trip? What if my leaders are uptight and no fun? What if I’m not allowed to bring my phone?
As far as the phones go, not being able to bring mine turned out to be the best rule of Basecamp. It allowed me to really live in the moment and cherish my surroundings. I felt insecure at times not to have my phone to go to whenever, but it forced me to step out of my bubble and my comfort zone. I am so thankful that I was granted the opportunity to go on Basecamp with such an amazing group.
This trip ended up meaning much more to me than perhaps I initially expected. The morning of the first day when I was scheduled to walk down to the meeting spot for the trip I was nervous---new social situations scare me, and meeting new people is something that has always created anxiety in me. However, I found that five days later, by the end of the trip, I felt prepared for college and for a new life at UW-Madison more than I had before.