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Exploring Warnell – Annie Vizurraga

If you’re a Warnellian, you’ll always have tons of opportunities to discover new things. One of the best opportunities Warnell has given me was the option to study abroad in Costa Rica a few summers ago. I went into the trip not knowing anyone in my group and was at first a little apprehensive about being stuck with the same people- all day, every day- in a foreign country. But after a few awkward meals full of beans, rice, and small talk, we all became fast friends.

I don’t know if it was our mutual love of the movie Zoolander (and no, Warnell is NOT a school for ants), the bout of food poisoning that wiped out half of our group, or our never-ending search for a wild sloth, but I found out that I had more in common with this group of strangers than I did with a lot of my friends back home- as Warnellians, we all wanted to see more, do more, and explore more.

One of the best days I had in Costa Rica was one of the last days of our trip. We had wanted to hike up to a waterfall that was closed off for the season, and my cabin-mates and I decided to go off on our own and try to find the mystery waterfall trail. About a half-hour into our hike, the sky opened up and we got hit by a really heavy downpour (obviously we didn’t have any of our rain jackets with us). We had just made it to a section of the trail that looked pretty promisingly waterfall-ish, so I decided to keep going. After a while longer, the trail kept getting harder and we were getting soaked to the skin. I realized that maybe the people I was with were not in as good spirits as I was, so I turned around and told them that it was ok with me if they wanted to go back, but that I wanted to keep going. They looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Are you kidding me?? We’re going with you!” It might sound cheesy, but this was the moment when I realized that being in Warnell with these people is where I belong. Who else but a Warnellian would actually enjoy being stuck in a torrential downpour on the off-chance that we might find a waterfall? In the most anti-climactic end to a story ever, we never did find the waterfall, but I will never forget that hike. If anything, never finding the waterfall just gives me a chance to keep exploring. And as long as I’m a part of Warnell, I know I’ll have friends who will keep exploring with me.

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