The second full morning of Project Week broke clear and cold. I woke early to bring a student into meet her brave Winter-X companions, who had just spent the night at Jeffer's Brook Shelter in temperatures that dropped to the negative teens. We arrived to find the group in good spirits, but definitely chilled. The unseasonably low temperatures forced us to make a spot decision; the group would remain in the field for the day and get warm by enjoying a hike up Blueberry Mt, but I would return in the afternoon (with pizza!) to bring them back to campus. In the end, safety and group morral were more important than trying to tough it out for another night.
Experiential learning is meant to show students what life is really like, and in real-life you cannot plan for all eventualities. You do your best, you plan for what you know, and then accept and deal with the unknown as it comes your way. If things don't go as planned, that's OK. It's not a failure to change course, to adapt, or to come back and try something again later. Failure would be to stay the course even though all signs are telling you to change directions. When it comes to safety, those decisions are easy. In other aspects of experiential learning, those decisions might not be so clear. We learn more from what doesn't work than from what does. I encourage all Huskies to try new things, evaluate, adjust, and try again. That's when true learning happens!
Explore, Educate. Experience.