I received the award in 2008 and looking back it is clear that the Outward Bound course was one of the most defining experiences of my teenage years. The experience of learning and collaborating in a new group of people, each of whom was from a range of countries and backgrounds, was a refreshing change from the narrow demographic of an Edinburgh private school, where it was easy to feel judged, out of place or lacking in confidence as a teenager. This completely new setting, lifestyle, and community, as well as an atmosphere of challenge and encouragement would, I believe, improve anyone’s confidence and maturity. I believe it may have kick-started several growths in personal development I experienced in the following years, and I even remember my Mum saying she had noticed a change in me after the course. When I recently asked her what she remembered about the award she said:
“You seemed much more confident, and as if things would not phase you. I think it took courage to go on the course, and you were surprised how much you enjoyed it. I also remember you made some good friends – which I think you had found difficult to do at school, people you might not normally meet, who, in a way, became better friends because of the shared experience?”
I went on to have a great final year at school, the best year I’d had so far, and after some exciting years as a student I now live in London and work as a composer creating soundtracks for educational children’s games and TV serieses. Of course, life always has its challenges, but I believe a course such as Outward Bound is a great way to practice overcoming such challenges, within a safe environment.