Alexandra Flores, Beloit College
Growing up in a big city has its pros and cons, one of the latter being that I have not had a lot of outdoor camping experience. I have slept in a tent a couple times in the past, but not for 5 weeks straight. Before this field school I had some expectations about life lived in a tent. Even though we have not been living at the campsite for long, I have come to realize the errors of my thinking.
I knew bugs were unavoidable, especially when living outside. I had no idea that I was going to be as paranoid about them as I have been for the past week and a half. When I leave my tent for any reason, I do my best to make sure no bugs can get inside it. I have learned that I do not like the possibility of bugs taking up residence with me in my already tight-spaced tent. It would be preferable to not find a group of spiders living in my suitcase after the field school is over.
Dirt is even more unavoidable than the bugs. I was not prepared for the amount of dirt and dust that has started to line my tent’s floor since I set it up. I have yet to find an efficient way to keep my tent at least semi-dirtless. This is something I just have to learn to live with for the next month. It is safe to say that I am going to have a new-found appreciation for my dorm room floor when school starts back up in the fall.
One thing I found to be true for my expectations of living in a tent is that despite its thin polyester walls and dirt, my tent provides me with a personal sanctuary when the day ends. After a long day of excavation or daylong field trips, it is nice to be able to relax in my own space. I am starting to understand that this is what my tent experience is all about. When I get past the superficial worry of bugs and dirt I can start to truly appreciate what is means to live outdoors and not only become closer to nature, but also to myself. I am anxious to see how this experience will have changed me come July.