I am finally back home, and I have lost track of home many times I have told the same stories repeatedly. I tell everyone about the struggles we had dealing with the snow, how I am Wilderness First Aid certified, and of course, I talk about how high we made it on our trek. Our elevation was definitely my favorite part of the trek because I will most likely never be at that height again. Now that I have been home for a few weeks and have been able to settle in at home and during my internship, I can finally reflect much more on the entire experience.
Going back to the very beginning of the trip I see everything we did in the classroom and training-wise to be very important. This gave us an immense level of knowledge that we would definitely need on the trek. I think we used just about everything we learned, except for the major injury treatment of course. Although there were a few times that I thought something we were doing may have caused a catastrophic injury. For example, walking on a somewhat old wooden bridge to get past a narrow creek or scaling a mountain with a minimum of three feet of snow. If somebody slipped or fell on the trek then the experiences would’ve been much worse than what happened, fortunately. The scariest moment was probably when I took a questionable step into deep snow and slipped. Although we were on the side of the mountain, I was not that worried about what happened. I knew what to do if I continued falling, but at that point, I knew there was a little clearance in the path to stop me. Overall, all the coursework before the trek was one hundred percent necessary for success.
I will say that there were defiantly times on the trek that no one was expecting to deal with, even G and Vipul. A prime example is when we made probably our biggest jump in altitude and had to deal with wind and rain out of nowhere. We were able to quickly gather our rain gear and throw it on, but no one saw it coming. Unfortunately for us on the same day, we didn’t have running water. So, we took snow melted it down, and filtered it to have the best dirt-filled water I have ever had straight from the Himalayan snow. This showed me how grateful I am to have clean running water at home.
I would often find myself thinking about how lucky I am to live in the United States. When were here living in the same environment for so long, I feel like we lose a sense of what the rest of the world is experiencing. Obviously, we know people are struggling to have clean water and a bunch of other issues, but when you see these things first it gives you a whole new perspective.
Items like this where I saw certain living conditions, as well as struggles on the trek I think change my personal development. I feel that I am more aware of certain situations, especially when I’m watching videos or reading news related to India. I feel like I can connect and minimally understand how these people feel. Fortunately, I was still very well taken care of in India, however, I still saw and recognize the struggle of the people. Since I have returned home, I think that I have acted much more appreciative and grateful for what I have. This is defiantly the most I have personally developed in this amount of time.
The way I developed academically I feel is so on the same level as I have become much more aware of situations that arise. For example, I have just finished my training at my internship, and I am much more aware of difficulties I or my peers may be facing. In part to this, I feel that I developed a new sense of problem-solving differently than what I used to do before India. I think that before I left, I often tried to solve problems as quickly as possible, however, I have learned that this is not always the best solution. I constantly catch myself dealing with an issue by taking a step back thinking of my options and going with what is best not only for myself but whoever I am working with. This has helped a large amount during my training, and I already know it is going to help me out so much in the classroom back at Pitt.
As I am now put into a professional setting in my new position, I see my awareness, which was developed on the trip, once again being present. I never realized how different everyone is in an office setting. Talking with a large number of people has caused me to become aware of just about every conversation. This is largely because I do not want to forget anyone’s name or something they tell me just in case they bring it back up at some point. Being aware of these things has largely benefited me because I feel I can pick up on certain things that I wouldn’t have before India. Somehow India has taught me how to gauge how someone feels about certain topics or scenarios and how to go about dealing with them. I think this is mainly because for the entire month of May, my eleven other peers and I were essentially all on one team working together to succeed on the trip, but more importantly, developing each other. Since we had to work together through countless stressful scenarios we grew together and individually at the same time.
To conclude I think that I have grown so much personally, academically, and professionally throughout the amazing experience in the Himalayas.