Transformational Experience – Part 3

Shirley Dinkel

I participated in a 21-day Outward Bound mountaineering program in the Colorado Rockies 20 years ago. I had a fearless, professional leader who had a great sense of humor. She pushed me to my limit and then some but always knew when to back off. She taught me to laugh at myself, accept challenges to the best of my ability and to always consider alternative routes. The environment was profoundly inspiring and I was humbled to be a speck among the vastness of the wilderness.

?It was ironic to mundanely brush my teeth while feasting my eyes on the challenge of the next 14,000 foot peak. I was ready for change and open to possibilities. I had no idea what to expect and thought the taxi ride through Denver was experience enough. I naively, roped up and went rock climbing. I learned that oranges taste like paradise after three days of fasting during solo. I was transformed.

?As a teacher, I believe that it is my job to create transformational experiences for students. I want to be a leader who understands possibilities and diversity. I want to create a supportive and challenging environment where students can explore their own potential – an environment where students can be scared but take risks anyway. I want to laugh a lot.

?Without transformational opportunities, those that are open to change and possibility may not have the environment to take risks and accept challenges. It is my vision, that the Transformational Experiences offered at Washburn University will create such an environment. I want to hold the rope as students shout, “On belay!”