This past summer, seven Stamps Scholars had the opportunity to backpack through Western Maine on an Outward Bound Expedition. Carrying only what was needed for them to survive for a week, they paddled, hiked, and climbed nearly everyday. Continue below to see the photos and quotes from this life-changing experience.

This trip was one I won’t soon forget.  Not only was it the whole experience that made it unforgettable, but also the people I experienced it with. On Day 1, I knew a few names and faces from our Facebook group, but had no idea exactly who these people were.  It didn’t take long to realize that this group of individuals would become some of my closest friends at Ole Miss. We overcame crises from the get-go, setting up camp and climbing mountains on a daily basis.  Everyone stepped up to lead the group whenever an obstacle arose, yet nobody took control. Rather, they worked in conjunction with the rest of the group to overcome adversity as a unit.  That’s what made us so successful during our time in Maine. We worked together flawlessly, always hearing out everybody’s opinions and figuring out what would be best for the group.

Being selected as a Stamps Scholar is still completely stunning to me.  I never would have expected I would be going to a school like Ole Miss with this kind of financial support.  Not only is the tuition assistance helpful, but the enrichment fund will definitely come into play in a big big way.  We can do another trip together like we did in Maine, but it also offers flexibility that allows me to pursue a study abroad course or perhaps a research opportunity.  It’s really all up to me how this money is spent, and it gives me the independence to pursue a career path in whatever way I see fit.  The whole college experience is going to be awesome, not that it wouldn’t be already.  In addition to the welcoming family at Ole Miss, I’m going to be able to explore a whole new world outside of Oxford.  The enrichment fund opens up new doors to new opportunities that only a few months ago, seemed out of reach.  I look forward to representing the Ole Miss community both in school and off campus, as an Inaugural Stamps Scholar.  ~Dylan Ritter

Each day of hiking on the course challenged the group physically, mentally, and emotionally. After a day and a half of training, we were encouraged to function as a team independent from our instructors, forcing us to bond, refine our leadership skills, and grow as a team. Personally, I learned the unique role independence plays when incorporated into teamwork and leadership. Too much independence separates one from the team, while too much dependence creates instability. Independence must be used as a tool by every member to contribute to the good of the team. I was surprised to learn this because I have always only viewed independence as a trait to be admired and sought for. However, I had never considered its negative affects in a team setting.
It was so fascinating to meet other Stamps Scholars from different regions. Everyone brought a slightly different cultural background to the team, and exchanging stories about our various human experiences even within the United States was an educational and thought-provoking experience. ~Kate Prendergast

I was most surprised by how close I grew with the other Stamps Scholars.  When 7 leaders are thrown into a trip together, it has the potential to go very, very wrong.  I came into it ready to navigate a very cliquish, competitive atmosphere.  Outward Bound, however, created a trip that transformed the seven of us into an interdependent team.  We all leaned on one another; Kathryn helped me stay organized and I helped her stay hydrated.  This trip was a safe place to meet each person, and learn to appreciate them on a deeper level.  Everyone was vulnerable; all our weaknesses and strengths were on the table for everyone to see.  We learned to love one another, and showed it by supporting each other in our weak spots.
This experience taught me to meet people right where they are.  Each person is a beautiful work in progress, and for a week, I had the unique privilege to walk alongside them and share that growth. It also reaffirmed my fire and thirst for knowledge so that I can better contribute to conversation with my friends, and better understand the life I am living. ~Eloise Tyner

While my Outward Bound trip was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, it was also the most rewarding experience of my life. I am positive that this experience changed me as a person. It taught me that I’m capable of much more than I previously imagined, and it showed me the importance of cooperating with and relying on other people. In just seven short days, my Outward Bound group became like a family.  Living without any of life’s usual modern comforts allowed me to appreciate the little things in life; out in the wilderness it was the little things that made me happy, such as hiking along a beautiful mountain brook or eating a warm dinner (everything tastes better on the trail!) I am extremely grateful for my Outward Bound experience, the people that I met, and the lessons learned. I will carry everything I learned from my experience with me for the rest of my life!  ~Andrea Ringer