Utah Canyon Exploration

Name: Allyson Marth
Type of Project: STEP Creative and Artistic Endeavor
  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

During my Ohio State spring break, I participated in a hiking, camping, rock climbing adventure in Nevada, southern Utah, and Arizona. During our time there we slept in 30-degree weather and prepared almost every meal on our own. We explored a variety of places, from hikes at Zion National Park to climbing at St. George, Utah to hot springs in northern Arizona.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

One day prior to the trip, I remember screaming “WHO SIGNED ME UP FOR THIS TRIP?” To be completely honest, I was panicking a bit. I had signed myself up… but, I was starting to regret it. The thoughts that were running through my brain included as follows: I have never camped. Not even once. I will not be sleeping in a bed or showering for 9 nights! What! Who does that? AND, on top of all of this… I chose to do this adventure will 9 complete strangers! Why?

Then we left. And I loved it. Seriously, by the grace of God, I loved it. Camping was not just sleeping on the ground in cold temperatures… instead, it was an experience of close bonding with peers. Hiking was not just exhausting, but recess as the mountains were playgrounds for adults. During the incline I had never felt so weak, yet the resilience I experienced at the peak was unbeatable. Rock climbing was not as daunting as I thought, but instead was a time of teamwork building with the belayer and myself. The view from the top of a rock wall was humbling as I had never felt so small, observing the world around me.

  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

There were so many key aspects of my experience with STEP that changed me. One relationship was my friendship with a girl named Marissa. Marissa is spunky and wild. She is so unashamed about who she is and freely embraces her identity. Marissa was eager to ask me questions about my faith in Jesus Christ and was open about her personal Jewish upbringing. She even taught me Hebrew! The reality is that when you go to a new place, share a tent with, and breathe in God’s creation with other people there is no way to not grow close! It is crazy how open you can be with a person that was a stranger a week ago. Since then, I have been put out of my comfort zone by going to a sorority variety show in support of Marissa and our friendship continues on!

Another interaction that led to transformation for myself was all the vocabulary I learned over that week away. I made sure to keep track through a word bank during my time in Utah. I learned the difference because sport and ‘trad’ climbing! ‘Trad’ stands for traditional. I learned about the specifics of climbing on a rock wall and the necessities of quick draws, alpine draws, nuts, hexes, and cams. I learned about different mountains and the differences between multi-pitch or single pitch climbs. I was made aware of climbing techniques such as smearing. And I was taught about the variety of terrain, from 1stclass (flat horizontal) to 5thclass (straight vertical).

Additionally, I learned more about Jesus over that adventure. I find myself often asking questions out of curiosity. Also, I think my outgoing, goofy personality can make me come off as unintelligent at times. While, I seriously was a major fan of each member of the trip, I think at times I was seen by them as lacking wisdom. This made me think of scripture from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31… “for consider your calling, brothers; not many of you were wise, according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world… so that no human beings might boast in the presence of God. And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” I might not be seen as wise to the world, but I am chosen by God. I am fully accepted and loved by God in Jesus. This is not due to my own works or my own knowledge, but this is due to God’s abundant love. This trip helped me believe that a bit more! And I get to boast in God!

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

This transformation is significant to me. I think this trip helped remind me of what matters in life. While there is definitely a time to work hard and give your all, I think there is a time for rest too. Rest can be getting away from screen time and giving yourself a break. That is what happened over spring break with STEP. I also realized how fun it is to adventure with friends and see natural wonders. And I am hopeful and expectant for my next trip! This helps my come to sense with what my personal goals actually are. I now have a goal of seeing every one of the 59 national parks of the United States.


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