As a new student at Mount Madonna, one of the first things your classmates enthusiastically tell you about are the international trips. I was told all about Sri Ram Ashram, how nervous people were about the long flight, and my favorite, numerous terrifying stories from past trips.
Entering your senior year of highschool is a surreal experience to say the least. It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of noticing all of your lasts. Your last first day of school, your last song share, your last winter play; I could go on and on. But what also comes with being a senior at Mount Madonna School, is so many firsts and new, exciting experiences, such as the India trip.
When we started preparing for the trip, we bombarded Shannon with questions about what to wear, what we’re going to eat, what to bring, what we’re going to do, etc. To be fair, we still bombard her with these questions everyday. After one class of answering our nervous questions, she told us that we aren’t really ever going to feel prepared for this trip until we are sitting on the plane, and even then we might not. I’ve been trying to embrace this idea as someone who always has to be prepared. Rather than stress about what to bring, I try to remember all of the work my class and so many others have put into this trip and channel my stress and nerves into excitement.
After weeks of fundraising, months of planning, and years of excitement, I can confidently say that I will never be prepared for this trip because how can you ever really be prepared for such an extraordinary, once in a lifetime experience?
In preparation for our journey to India, the seniors have been hard at work. We have been committed to our research of Indian culture and practices. We read a book by his Holiness the Dalai Lama concerning compassion and the breakdown of basic human interactions and relationships. In our reading we found the inspiration for the intention of our trip: compassion. “Karuna,” the sanskrit word for compassion embodies the presence that we aim to bring with us. We hope to show compassion to everyone we meet and feel compassion toward our surroundings and our new experiences.
With our intention set, the seniors have been heavily involved in fundraising for the trip. We plan on bringing money with us to gift to the different organizations we visit. To fund-raise we have been selling t-shirts, we held a rummage sale, we did yard work for various families, we babysat, and we have a GoFundMe page online.
Although I feel that I can never be fully “ready” to go to India, I’m as ready as I could ever be. I can’t wait to see what happens on our adventure, and I look forward to sharing everything I’ve learned upon our return.