Setting Out on a “Big Kid” Adventure

Miranda Brookwell

Youth Correspondent

Without question, the best part of school is the field trips. Like back in elementary school, when everyone would get on the big yellow school bus with backpacks and bag lunches, all set for whatever adventures the day had in store. Usually it was a fun trip, like to the zoo, or a slightly educational journey, perhaps on some sort of nature excursion or to the Telus World of Science in Edmonton. The junior high days were more of a “get out of here and leave us alone” kind of affair, which was fine as long as we got the back seats of the bus. And then we get to the high school, and we start to explore some more serious, important places, such as the Legislature in Edmonton, and we come away from it actually knowing something. Wow.

However, I think our latest field trip, which is happening this week, will be a great balance of elementary school excitement and high school learning. 24-hour bus ride to Vancouver Island? I’m thinking yes.

A group of grades 10 and 11 advanced placement biology students, including me, are taking a bus trip to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, on the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, where we will learn more about careers and activities in the biology field. I’ll have to report back once it’s all done and explain what we did out there, because I’m actually not sure what they’ve got planned for us. In my opinion, I think that’s a good thing. It will all be new and exciting, I’m sure.

I do know that we’ll be going out on the water, and that we’ll get to do some proper lab assignments. It is such an amazing opportunity that makes me very happy I’m enrolled in the AP program, simply because we will all have the chance to experience not only an environment but an area of study that we are unfamiliar with. For a girl from the Prairies, any opportunity to see some ocean is a great one, even with some chilly winds and temperatures that aren’t great (but better than here). We’ll be spending a lot of time on the bus playing cards, jamming out to iPods, and snacking, as well as stopping at Banff on the way home to see the Cave and Basin National Historic Site and relax in the hot springs. So really, this will probably be one of those field trips that are just so fun you don’t realize that you return with a wealth of information in your brain.

Not only are we getting a break from small town Alberta, but we’re getting a chance to be independent and explore an area that is totally new to many of us. It might seem strange, but one of my favourite parts of travelling is the little stops for food and bathroom breaks in the middle of the night, when you get out of the bus or the car and realize how far you’ve gone since the last time you set foot on the ground.

This will be so similar to those elementary school days. But instead of backpacks it’s sleeping bags and suitcases, and instead of some change (just in case), we’ve got enough money to feed us for days. We’re not on the big yellow school bus anymore – we’ve moved up to the fancy charter bus. And yet the child-like excitement and anticipation is still there, which is what is really going to make this “big kid” field trip enjoyable.

Because after all, it’s not only the destination that matters, it’s the journey.