When I came into high school, I expected the trip to be at least as long as the middle-school trips. I was even thinking it might be longer because we are now in high school. But it turns out that they are actually shorter!
The high-school trips are a total of four days and three nights.
Our freshman trip began on Tuesday, Oct. 20. We departed from school at 6:30 a.m. and headed off to San Francisco. It was a three-hour drive to the ropes course, our first stop.
By the time we got there, went to the restrooms and got our stuff organized, we did not start an actual activity (team-building exercises) until 10:30 a.m. We spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon on the ropes course and then walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.
All of our activities for the day were over by 4 p.m. The rest of the day we did nothing but get settled at the youth hostel where we were staying.
We made dinner, ate it and then cleaned it up. After dinner we went on a very short night hike around the hostel.
Wednesday and Thursday we spent doing activities around San Francisco. But there was a lot of travel time each day with relatively few activities.
The hostel is located 10 miles from the city, so with traffic it took 45 minutes to get to our activities that were all over the Bay Area.
Instead of having a jampacked itinerary like in middle school, on Wednesday the only thing we really did was kayak.
We kayaked for two-and-a-half hours. I wished we could have kayaked longer!
We then visited the Maritime Museum for 30 minutes, and the rest of the day was free.
On Friday, we did nothing except wake up, clean up, pack up and play games.
The bus was also an hour-and-a-half late, so we were waiting around even more.
In reality the trip was only two-and-a-half days, not including travel time. That’s too short.
In contrast, the middle-school trips are full of activities.
Leaving early Sunday morning and returning Thursday night, the middle schoolers are gone five days and four nights.
In sixth and seventh grade, our days were jam-packed. We had many activities, including full-day hikes and adventures.
We never stopped moving, and there was only an hour of free time at most each day.
The eighth-grade trip to Washington D.C. lasts five days and four nights. While there is more time spent traveling, there are still more activities than the high-school trips.
On the D.C. day trip, we had to wake up around 6 a.m. each morning, and we would not get home till 10 p.m. sometimes.
Our days were full of museums, monuments, restaurants and other activities.
We visited the Washington Monument and the White House and museums like the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History.
The high-school trips are less structured than the middle-school trips. I know that we are more mature, so more free time and freedom are allowed.
But we could do so many more activities in just one or two extra days, especially on the freshman trip.
For example, there is so much to do in San Francisco. We could go kayaking for a day, visit museums or go to Chinatown.
Why not go on hikes, take a bike tour of San Francisco, walk the city or go to a baseball game?
We could even go to the Exploratorium! So many people in our class love the Exploratorium, and we are not too old to still have fun there.
If the trips were longer, we would also have more time to bond with our classmates. That is especially important in freshman year with so many new students joining and as we transition into high school.
I still feel like I don’t know every person in my class very well, and that could be made possible with longer trips.
Many of our rival high schools don’t have high-school class trips because they have so many students.
The trips are a special thing at Country Day, and we should make them better by making them longer.
—By Jack Christian