By: Garrett Yarbrough, EC Scholar and Honors College Freshman
The following blog post refers to the EC Scholar Ocracoke Impact Trip, a leadership training and bonding experience held in August for each incoming class of EC Scholars. Thanks to the support of generous donors Mr. and Mrs. Holloman, the EC Scholar Class of 2019 enjoyed four days of delicious dining, beach activities, and integral professional development training in the Outer Banks completely free of cost.
The sandy grit between the grooves in the bridge’s asphalt crunched beneath my sneakers as I stretched my legs from the ferry ride. Fresh off the boat! This was my first time visiting the Outer Banks since Murphy’s Law practically dictates my life. Every time I had the chance, circumstances changed and the Outer Banks’ silky sand slipped through my fingers. Thanks to Captain Edward Murphy, I can never say “What’s the worst that could happen?” Just give it a minute. I can say that Murphy’s Law makes some good stories, so what more could an English major ask for?
That’s exactly what I got after getting back on that boat after four days and three nights–a lot of stories. The trip to Ocracoke with the other nineteen freshman EC Scholars and the upperclassmen gave me the opportunity to bond with twenty-plus people that I am ecstatic to work and grow with over the next four years. Speaking on my experience as the perpetual “new kid,” having more than twenty new friends in an overwhelming new setting like college is a godsend. Each of the Scholars is unique and has their own talents that they bring to the table, which enriches what our group can accomplish. Plus it makes them the raddest dudes and dudettes to chill with.
Ocracoke provided a dualistic approach to our days, akin to what college would become. By day we learned how to become the best leaders we could and a cohesive unit. By night we ate ice cream and watched the World Armwrestling League (“WAL” for those of you who haven’t been blessed by the planet’s sport of champions). Seriously, we ate ice cream every single day. We know what’s up. All twenty of us found a great deal of commonalities between us and we clicked after one day, it seemed. We’re a well-oiled machine, similar cogs with differing teeth that spin in different directions, but create a magnificently functioning automaton in the end, fueled by inside jokes, ridiculous nicknames, and ice cream of course.
The activities that were there for us were so much fun as well! The oppressive heat was alleviated by learning how to balance ten of us on three boards adrift in the ocean, crossing a river on the backs of sea turtles, and myself fumbling with a kayak paddle. Through all of this we learned how to better communicate so we can function at our highest level possible. With the other classes of Scholars there to lead us, we learned what it meant to be an EC Scholar and how to give back to the college that has invested in our futures. After all, East Carolina is the only Carolina.
When I boarded the ferry to head back, I wasn’t even close to sad that we were heading back. I was positively fervent to get to East Carolina so I could spend even more time with such a terrific team! After the last seagull dropped off alongside the boat to head back to its roost and the island was once again enveloped by the ocean’s inscrutable fog, I looked ahead towards the mainland that began to peek over the horizon. We had all been through a lot already at this point, including a brush with the supernatural and being lulled to sleep with Jeff Bridges’ Sleeping Tapes, and the next four years will hopefully continue the insanity that we’ve already dipped into.