DP Exordium 2018 – Or As We Like To Call It – Last Chance For Joy
DP Exordium 2018 – Attention! You Are Now Exiting the Carefree Zone. Up Ahead: the Real World
“What?” and “why?”, these were most definitely the initial questions on all of our minds. Why are we undertaking this trip? What is the point of this? The annual DP Exordium was faced with mixed emotions. What some regarded as two nights of our weekends sacrificed, others regarded as an enjoyable event. Nonetheless this years trip to the campsite in Zwingenberg, a smaller town located within close proximity of Heidelberg, was an experience involving intricately connected moments of emotion, realization and self-reflection for grade 11 students and teachers alike.Sighs, panting and thuds were frequently audible on the morning of Thursday, which preceded the trip. Students were dragging in not only their substantially heavier backpacks filled with their DP textbooks, laptops and other necessary equipment, they were carrying along their camping gear as well. While the majority of our teachers had reassured us that there would be no additional work during our trip, we still had an entire school day to undergo prior to the what would soon known to be a very exhausting trip. Relatively few seemed concerned about not being able to study, review or complete work for the following week, which showed that time management, self organization and maturity were greatly developed over the summer. Despite the greatly increased amount of items that had accumulated, students had still managed to divide their gear up effectively between the basement storage area and the area underneath the benches.After the school day, a small group of students, joined by teachers, set off to the Kaufland to acquire the food items agreed upon during the class survey. The remaining students waited patiently alongside the mountain of baggage we had clustered together. Unfortunately the jejune suggestions made by fellow classmates of predominantly meats, were not particularly helpful. However thanks to the quick thinking of the provisions-team more necessary items were acquired. Interestingly such items e.g. candies, cookies, or even condiments, which were initially not mentioned or wanted, were the first to be devoured. While the great ideas of our provisions team were helpful during on the campsite, they did unfortunately caused us to miss the first scheduled train and wait another 30 minutes for the next. Fortunately the train ride we had taken to get to our destination was comfortably short, 33 minutes to be precise. However the short duration was filled with echos of respectful apologies on the behalf of students bumping into other passengers with their camping gear.
Following our short train ride, was equally short hike to the campsite. Many underestimated the time that had been estimated for the completion of the mini hike. What the hike lacked in time, it more than made up for in difficulty, due to the additional weights we were dragging along with us. Once we reached the campsite, everyone was extremely relieved to drop their baggage to the ground, stand up straight and stretch out backs that were forced into uncomfortable positions by the burdensome baggage. After registration students divided up into smaller groups, while being considerate of the new students and making efforts to integrate such, contributing to an overall positive and welcoming atmosphere. Fortunately this atmosphere provided a balance for the tensions that were created during the struggles of setting up tents. Despite missing rods or lopsided tent covers, everyone managed to set up a shelter for the night. What followed this was dinner. The barbecue was most definitely a success, everyone appeared to enjoy themselves, as well as the food. Interesting conversations were held and new friendships began to bloom. With the sun setting and flames of the fire reducing to embers, students and teachers returned to their tents and quickly drifted off to sleep after our first strenuous day.
The following morning was met with disappointment, as it had rained the previous night and therefore any clothing items or baggage left outside the tents had been soaked and very cold. The plan for the day had been to have breakfast at 07:30 and be packed and ready by 08:15 to catch the train taking us to the docks where our canoes would have been waiting. Due to a few complications and overall tiredness we were late, however that was quickly resolved and we were off to canoeing. There appeared to be a generally positive outlook onto the canoeing, prior to the realization that settled in much later, that we would be stuck on a canoe with two other people, for five hours whilst making repetitive, continuous and very tiring motions with our paddles. Once again students divided up into smaller groups, pushed the canoes out into the water and were “setting sail”. The first hour out on the river was relatively enjoyable. People made conversation with classmates they would have perhaps prior to this trip not spent as much time with before. It was very interesting to discover others that shared hobbies, interests, similar experiences or even worries. It was both unsettling and comforting to truly realize that the people around oneself were those that would be accompanying you through this critical “final pre stage”, preceding the following “real world”, which is to be faced alone. Nevertheless, five hours into swatting at the river water, canoe linking for what was hoped to be a more efficient way of traveling, as well as hundreds of river-water battles, we had finally reached home – the campsite. While most of us were looking forward to crawling back into the comfort of our sleeping bags, a few brave individuals hopped into the river again for a quick swim.The final morning was significantly colder than our previous morning, which reflected a common mood many of us shared. Some were relieved to finally go home, others were wishing the trip would not end so soon. Once more sighs, panting and thuds were frequently audible, however this time it was due to the difficult puzzle of putting apart the tents and repackaging them into their original containers. While it was quite challenging, it did offer an additional moment of teamwork. Following the packing up of the tents and further belongings, as well as gathering and correct disposal of waste we headed towards the area where a bus would pick us up to bring us to the Kletterwald. At the Kletterwald we had a welcoming introduction on behalf of the staff. Soon afterwards we were divided into groups based on proficiency in German language. This once again produced student combinations which some would have most likely never truly considered before for work purposes. Initially (in the group I was in at least), there was great hesitation to working together. However after our instructor had informed us that we would be starting over as many times as necessary until we would learn to work together, we quickly unified and accomplished the task successfully. Further team building and trust forming activities were relatively enjoyable, yet it can be said with certainty that the activity looked forward to the most was the individual climbing activity and the jump from the 10m pole (naturally with the necessary security measures). Overall this years trip once again allowed students to truly test their abilities, challenge themselves, discover new things not only about themselves but perhaps about one or the other student or teacher, and take a moment to relax and enjoy life, which is something that may be more of a luxury during the next two years.
Good luck everyone! Here’s to a solid start to the IB Diploma Program!