Mystery Trip 2k18: The Highs and The Lows

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Alex Eastland

The Original Washington Monument in Baltimore, MD.

Alex Eastland, Staff Writer

“The purpose of the Mystery Trip is for the entire 9th grade to come together before the school year even starts”, explained 9th grade Dean of Students Mr. Amarante, “It gives a chance at fellowship within the grade and is an opportunity to bond with your advisor.” The annual tradition of the Mystery Trip serves as a metaphor for joining the Upper School. As 8th graders become freshmen, anxiety and nervousness tend to set in and the dramatic change in environment becomes overwhelming. The trip is supposed to be a fun way for freshmen to bond with their classmates, but, in reality, the Mystery Trip isn’t always the fun, enjoyable journey it’s made to be.

As the bus headed north on I-85, theories started spreading like wildfires, as speculation about nearly every major city on the East Coast was thrown around the buses. Freshman Smith Sanford was “convinced it was Boston once we started heading north”. The big reveal was made during breakfast, as the Freshmen were given their “Baltimore Mystery Trip 2018” shirts (made of a painfully uncomfortable cotton material) and reactions were varied. Students expecting Boston or New York were a little disappointed, while some students were excited to explore Charm City.

The trip definitely had its highlights. Exploring the National Aquarium, listening to freshman Andrew Mahaffey’s 20-minute freestyle rap on the bus, and touring Fort McHenry were all cited by students as (at least) tolerable parts of the trip, but the consensus seemed to be that watching the Orioles-Blue Jays game was the climax. “It was the most calm and relaxing part of the trip. Everything else was chaotic, but the game was really chill”, said freshman Cullen Von Wyl, before adding that “the free food at the ballpark was pretty cool, too”.

The lowlights, however, were plentiful. Though the outdoor Fort McHenry museum was interesting, the 95 degree heat and thick cotton shirts made the tour a little uncomfortable. The bus ride itself was fun at times, but sleeping on the bus was far from a high point. That being said, the absolute worst part about the trip, without a doubt, was stopping for a Golden Corral breakfast. As they opened the glorious red double doors, the Freshman class was met with that classic Golden Corral smell. Plates filled with fake bacon and watery eggs sat in front of everyone, and each 9th grader had to make their own decision: Am I hungry enough to eat this? For most, the answer was yes, but that Golden Corral will go down as one of the most painful culinary experiences in Mystery Trip history.

Freshman year is full of anxiety, nervousness, and excitement. Throughout the year, there will be high points and low points, aquariums and uncomfortable cotton shirts on 95 degree days, Orioles games and Golden Corrals. The Mystery Trip was undeniably a roller coaster of emotions. But so is Freshman year. The trip might not have been perfect, but it was a perfect metaphor for 9th grade.