Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reflections on Disneyland - by Maureen

Three weeks ago, I was at Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth with some of my favourite people. I don’t know how it all went by so fast, a trip I’d anticipated for months is over now, and here I am writing this blog post with a cup of tea and a severe case of nostalgia as I reflect on some of the best days of my high school life.

The Walt Disney Company is one of the most iconic corporations in the world. With the success it’s had in the last century and continues to have today, it is nearly impossible to imagine a time where the company and Walt Disney himself weren’t quite so prosperous. Nevertheless, his perseverance was rewarded and his legacy is one that continues to inspire people, myself included.

Instead of trying to rack my brain in remembering and then regurgitating exactly what happened everyday we were there, I’m going to write about my favourite moments and why they hold the significance to me that they do. In chronological order of occurrence:

  1. Team building- On the first day, outside of space mountain we had an activity that required moving our teammates around various objects on the floor while the other person was blindfolded. My partner, Kartik, and I had a ton of communication issues- his life was my right, the size of a “step” was different for both of us and so on, but we worked through it and gradually began to trust each other more. The exercise was a model for teamwork and as someone who isn’t the biggest fan of group projects, I appreciated the need to problem solve and hope to apply the same skills into my future group work.
  1. Overcoming challenges- On day two, the focus was more on legacy and personal growth. Heights make me fairly uncomfortable, so when our program director for the day, Whitney, had us balance cones on our heads while walking across nets that were strung up high, I was more nervous than I let on. I kept clinging on the sides, feeling like I couldn’t move my legs and clinging on to sides of the net for dear life (I realize with hindsight that the structure was pretty safe but I didn’t in the moment). As the nets started sloping downwards, my heart beat even faster and one of my friends ahead of me decided it’d be funny to start jumping. Ignoring my shrieks of fear, he smiled and said “C’mon Maureen, people are going to mess with you in life” while others around me laughed and agreed. With no valid defense statement because he was right, I used it as motivation to keep going and finishing was accomplishing. This is somewhat cliché, but I loved how the activity was a metaphor for life.
  1. Screamin’ over California- This is the name of the huge rollercoaster at Disney’s California Adventure park. Known for its height and speed, it was the first “real” rollercoaster I’d ever been on and I got to experience it with one of the best friends I’ve made on student council, Shiraz. Even though he’s in Grade 8 and I’m in Grade 12, the friendships I’ve made this year know no age. It was his first major ride as well, and we spent so long debating if we should exit in the lineup. I’m so glad we didn’t, because it ended up being my favourite ride! I can’t think of anyone I’d want to share the experience with more. Also, after the ride another one of my younger friends told me that she was going to back out but when she saw me go on, she thought “[she] could do it too if Maureen could”. That still brings a smile to my face, I didn’t realize that I could make an impact like that and I hope to be a good role model, always. I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve been able to build on student council this year.
  1. Photo Scavenger Hunt- I’m naturally competitive, and when I saw the teams for the scavenger hunt I was beyond excited. I remember looking at my teammates and pronouncing that losing was not an option. We won! I hope I keep this drive for the rest of my life, but also that I learn to accept losses too. Even if we’d lost, I won’t forget the amazing moments we had while searching for everything from a broom to a fish to Peter Pan
This trip was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’d just like to thank Ms. Becker, Mr. Neufeld, Vanessa, my parents, and the generous donations from admin for giving us this opportunity. And to my 20 incredible friends who went with me, thank you for the laughs, the sing-a-longs, and all of the unforgettable memories. <3

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