First off, an apology for not posting in what feels like a month. I have, surprisingly, been kept very busy over the past few weeks with the National Citizen Service programme. I began the programme with a great deal of anxiety. I don’t particularly like having to talk to new people and the fact that I would be sharing a tent with a group of them heightened my nervousness. However, the first week of NCS was not only a brilliant experience but I walked away with an expanded group of friends and a more confidence in my abilities.
First of all, the activities I did whilst away showed me that I was capable of more than I believed I could do. Water sports took up the majority of my time whilst away. I had expected to be doing the likes of canoeing and kayaking while away as these felt like the conventional activities one does whilst on week residential experience in a Scout centre. I was taken aback, therefore, when we were given the opportunity to do other activities like sailing (the boat shook a lot more than I would have liked), windsurfing and coasteering which were all alien to me prior to attending the first week of NCS. Our busy schedule for activities with 3 activities everyday left me feeling drained physically but they were such good fun I didn’t mind in the slightest.
My strongest sense of personal achievement came during coasteering. I will not deny, I was on the verge of full blown hysteria (several hidden tears escaped mine eyes, I shall not lie) as I stared at the crashing waves that we would be spending the next hour in. However, one does not simply clamber down a small cliff face to then chicken out. I can tell you now, that water was as cold as ice and even with a wetsuit (which felt like what can only be described as a very tight, wet hug) I was freezing for a good 5 minutes. However, the rush jumping in the ocean gave me left me exhilarated and keen for more. Prior to coasteering I had been adamant in my opposition to jumping off the highest jump which was somewhere around 10 to 15 metres above the surface. However, an undeniable mixture of peer pressure, brave stupidity and an adrenalin rush concluded with me standing at the top of a cliff, shaking like a leaf. To ensure I didn’t drop out of the jump my new ‘friends ‘ (who I can now say are more supportive) made sure I went before them (perhaps they were more terrified than me?). As I stood on the precipice of the cliff I stared at the horizon for 2 seconds. My feet left the cliff and I crashed into the ocean. My feeling of pride in myself was elevating (though my stomach felt slightly less happy, I assure you) and coasteering was undeniably my favourite activity of the whole week.
However, my positive experience at NCS would have been greatly reduced if the incredible people I had the pleasure of being on the programme with weren’t there. I had a fantastic group full of fantastic people which made the week far better than it could have been. I’m honoured to be able to call many of them friends and I intend to keep in contact with as many of them as I can.
Overall, Phase 1 of NCS gave me an initial sense of dread over the inevitable social interactions I would have to partake in. However, the combination of brilliant people and exciting activities made for a brilliant week of fun. If you have questions about my experience with NCS or NCS as a whole please leave them in the comments.