Sophomore Claudia Mezey ‘15 Finds Inner Strength
Posted September 24, 2012
Students in the Upper School spend their summers in a variety of ways. Some made the trek to China, while others tried their hand at organic farming. Claudia Mezey ’15 spent her summer in a unique way. For two weeks, the sophomore roughed it out in the wild as part of the Sierra Nevada Alpine Backpacking and Rock Climbing Program, which is run through Outward Bound California.
“Part of the appeal of the program was the freedom it provided campers to set our own goals, and the assistance our instructors gave to help us use the tools necessary to find success in all forms—physical, social, and emotional,” Mezey said. “The focus of the program was to remove myself from the safe predictability of home life, and of school routine in order to challenge myself and find success in an environment where sun turns to thunder in minutes, and the only thing expected is the unexpected. Comfort was no real concern on the course. It was all about pushing your limits.”
Mezey and other students navigated trails deep into the Sierra National Forest and Ansel Adams Wilderness. While she learned a variety of skills along the way, including how to set up camp, knot tying, cooking, cleaning, belaying and repelling, she also noted that the course taught her a lot about mental stamina.
“By far the most incredible day on the course was in the last week,” Mezey said. “Our counselors referred to it as 'The Epic.' We had a set destination for the end of the day (Isberg Lakes), and five possible peak attempts/summits. We woke up at 4:30am and arrived at Isberg Lakes at 4am the following morning, having summited all five peaks and hiked a total 7/8 miles with few breaks (around 3 miles cross-country, or off-trail) with packs weighing approximately 50-55 pounds. It was then, sitting on the ridge after having climbed Isberg Peak at midnight, eating mashed potatoes and dehydrated corn chowder, shivering down to the bone wearing six layers, that I truly understood every Outward Bound pamphlet: you learn the most about yourself in your weakest, most exhausted and worn-out hours. The program created an atmosphere that allowed me to find in myself a new strength - a strength to overcome the mental and physical defeat of those weakest hours.”
Here at GA, Mezey, who enjoys studying science and English, participates in cross country, track and field and Relay for Life. She says she’s excited about GA’s new outdoor initiatives.
“Having been exposed to pure, practically untouched natural habitats, I think that the initiative GA is taking in connecting students to, and in, preserving the outdoors is both important and admirable,” Mezey concluded.
Congratulations Claudia on completing your Outward Bound journey!