"I wasn’t going to let fear stop me"

Guest blogger Abu shares with us his Outward Bound Skills for Life Award story from last summer (2015).

Abu 3Before I took on the Skills for Life Award I was extremely nervous (I was only 15 at the time - the youngest in my clan!), with many thoughts rushing through my head – ‘What was I meant to do? What if they didn’t like me? What if everyone laughed at me?’

I was pretty scared to attend the course, but I wasn’t going to let fear stop me as I had this burning motivation deep inside that willed me forward. I knew if I set my mind to it that I could take anything on. I took the challenge and decided I was about to experience a wonderful adventure that I would wholeheartedly embrace.

I picked Loch Eil to do my course, as I love the Scottish terrain. It took me 3 buses to get to Scotland, and I travelled through the night. My adventure had started, and even though it was scary travelling on my own without anyone helping me, it was also exciting. In my head I kept repeating to myself ‘no I'm not turning back - I'm going to move forward and get the best from the course’.

When I arrived, all the participants were put into clans. As soon as they put me in mine, I realised that it was one of the best and I was relieved. At the Centre we worked hard to get the maximum out of our course, and we all communicated with each other so easily that it felt like we were already friends. It was pretty daunting being put into a group with strangers, but we loved one another. There were many international students in the Centre, and it was amazing to know that people came from all different parts of the world to experience this fantastic adventure. It was absolutely phenomenal to know that people from around the world would be sitting in the same room as me! I became friends with many international students, and I can still remember Eric and Julia, who were really funny and loved being outdoors.

I had the chance to spend a day with the ‘Ultimates’ - that day was one of the best days as we all sat near a camp fire, eating our food packs and talking about the experiences we had shared, and the challenges we had accomplished. We also laughed about all the funny moments on our course.

Life at the Centre was so much fun, and they put together a brilliant timetable of activities. There was a movie night where everyone got together to watch movies, which was particularly fun. Sharing dorms with random people I had never met was scary at first, but it actually proved to be amazing, as we all got along with each other and stayed beside each other whilst exploring the Centre together, talking for hours in our dorms and building a great bond.

Outward Bound has taught me a lot. I wasn't always so positive, and some would have once described me as a ‘troubled kid’, always getting into trouble and hanging around with the wrong people. That is until I went on an Outward Bound course, and it opened my eyes to the fact that there is more to the world than we often see.

Abu 1I learnt many skills during our course – ‘Covey's 7 Habits’ taught me a lot, and I stuck by the 7 habits and still follow them through now, applying what I learnt to my day-to-day life. I can still remember sitting in the meeting room as one of the instructors told us about growth mindsets. I took that information deep inside and thought, ‘that's me - that's the way I want to think’. Thanks to my instructors, I now have a growth mindset, and don’t let any challenge defeat me.

I took all the skills I learnt back to school with me. My teachers and my friends were shocked, because as soon as I came back everyone noticed a positive change in me. My head was suddenly down in lessons as I tried to get on with my classwork, and I started answering questions and getting the best from every lesson. Everyone seemed shocked with what I had accomplished.

I suppose it’s really strange to see a Somalian boy accomplishing all these amazing things after coming from a troubled past. I hope to work as a scientist in the future, studying medicine and striving towards finding cures for diseases. I also hope to be on the news for being one of the top scientists to run pharmaceutical companies across the globe. I also wish to run many charities, helping underprivileged kids get the most out of their education. I want to encourage them to accomplish much more, and to see beyond restrictions by going up mountains, and by taking them on expeditions showing them what Outward Bound has shown me, and indeed how it's changed me.

My biggest dream is to make my mum proud and buy her that house that she’s always dreamed of. A quote that motivates me to push myself is this: ‘If you can dream it, you can achieve it’.