“Before the trip I wouldn’t say I was scared but I was definitely a little nervous about going to college. Everyone was saying ‘oh you’ll be fine’ and I just remember thinking to myself ‘will I really though?” said Elle Lenker, a freshman biomedical engineering major.
Lenker found herself at home for her last summer before college with little planned compared to what was typically a busy time of year in the past.. This prompted her mom to challenge her to find something to fill the time. Together, she and her mother set out to find a trip or involvement Lenker could participate in as a transitional event into this next phase of her life. Conveniently, it wasn’t long before a they noticed an email for incoming NC State students regarding Wolfpack Bound.
The subject line immediately caught their attention. It read something like ‘Spend 6 Days Kayaking and Camping’. “I had never really done either before and the trip was literally centered around aiding incoming students’ transition into the college world,” said Lenker. “It was pretty much exactly what we were looking for.”
The trip did not disappoint: Lenker was active all week. At the beginning of the adventure students were assigned tent mates in small groups of two to three. Most mornings began at around 7 a.m. with breakfast leading directly into the activities for the day. The itinerary varied between time spent on the beach and two kayaking trips to other nearby islands, among other guided conversations and activities.
“On one particular day we had left on one of the kayaking trips and I just remember us all thinking ‘it’s taking forever to get there’ because we had to go with the tides and the island was a decent distance away,” said Lenker. “When we finally got there everyone felt so accomplished and excited, we all started taking fun pictures on the beach together. I remember just laying in the sand being like ‘thank god we’re here’… It was a big day.”
Lenker claimed the trip helped her grow in more ways than one. Initially, the camping and kayaking were not the only challenges she experienced.
“[The trip] puts you in an environment where you’re new to something and you kind of have to find your way. I think it’s great to be in a situation where you grow through meeting new people, learning about NC State, and you get to do something you probably haven’t done before,” said Lenker. “If you’re thinking about going on the trip I personally think it was one of the best things I could have done between highschool and college.”
According to Lenker the trip’s benefits did not end when they returned home. The experience laid the perfect foundation for her shift from high school to college.
“I would advise it to any incoming freshman, its great. You bond while you camp, while you kayak, while you do these new activities, you bond the whole trip,” said Lenker. “Knowing people at NC State already when you finally do start is really helpful, I met some really great people on the trip and still even keep in touch with some of them.”
Wolfpack Bound offers a five-day, small group trip for new students and this year Wolf Camp will offer a three-day larger group experience where new students can have fun with fifty new friends at Falls Lake. Both programs offer Wolfpack freshman a new experience, while learning about college and getting to know some of their peers before the first day of class.
“It definitely helped with my transition,” said Lenker. “I’d recommend this trip to really any type of student. I think there’s a place for introverts and extroverts, it doesn’t really matter. It seemed like everyone genuinely had a really good time.”
For information about incoming first-year trip dates, cost, and to register follow this link: https://recreation.dasa.ncsu.edu/outdoor-adventures/wolfpack-bound/