The Field Trip That Went Wrong

Jordan JohnsonOctober 26, 2022CitizenshipAwesome Moments

Artwork by Arina Stetsiuk, age 13

Do you ever go down memory lane and take a stroll through your crazy memories? I know I do.

Looking back at some of them, I realized I learned important things about being a citizen. Some exceptional memories are amazing and lesson-learning experiences.

When you're experiencing something significant in your life, you often don't realize it. One of my significant moments, depending on your perspective, could be a good memory or a bad one. While I didn’t realize it at the time, I learned many things about being a good friend and citizen. When I was in elementary school in Brooklyn, my dad (as a chaperone), my classmates, and I went on a field trip to Staten Island. We visited a nice old village neighborhood from the late 1800s. We finished the tour and my teacher was on the phone with the bus driver. I heard her say that the bus broke down and there would be a delay. My dad, (the only chaperone there), my classmates, and I were shocked. After accepting the situation, we were cool with it, but as hours passed, we got hungrier and thirstier. We couldn't help but feel miserable in the heat.

As my dad– bored out of his mind and probably regretting his decision to chaperone this field trip– noticed, we were starting to get tired, so he bought us ice cream, since that was the only type of food around. Then, I asked my classmates if they wanted to play on my Nintendo with my best friend, Klever, and I — almost everyone said yes. We played One-Two-Switch and Mario Kart until we got sick of them. My friends Klever, Angellise, Caleb, and I rolled down a hill while chanting that we wanted to go home. At this point, it had been two hours since the field trip was supposed to end. My dad started to joke around with my classmates and bought us a second round of ice cream and water. I had a small picnic with Klever and some other kids with the rest of our snacks. Most of the kids were laying down, not knowing what to do with themselves. I'm sure my teacher, Ms. Ramadani, was frustrated that she couldn't go home.

Artwork by Arina Stetsiuk, age 13

The school bus finally came around 6:45pm and we all hopped on, hoping that it wouldn't break down again. Many of my classmates fell asleep on the bus after the long day we had experienced. We reached the school at 7:40pm and all went home, relieved. Everyone ran up to their parents and gave them a big hug. It wasn't fun for the teacher and the chaperones, but for the kids this was a fun day to be outside and get away from school work, although we were also bored out of our minds at times. I didn't know I was going to look back at this day so often and discuss it with my friends and family years afterward.

The memories that you treasure and keep in your heart are ones that have taught you a lesson. For me, I learned that not all things go as planned — sometimes things take a turn for the worse. We were supposed to return to school at 1:30pm, but instead arrived around 7:40pm. Another thing I learned that day was if you can help someone, do it. My dad bought us all ice cream and water– all thirty kids. He was the true hero, spending his money to buy us treats and water so that my classmates and I weren’t hungry and thirsty from running around. Today this helps me know that I should always be prepared for the worst. It has also helped me learn to calm people down if their plan doesn't work. I can assist them in figuring out what to do and teach them to be flexible, since I have been in this situation.

In addition, the biggest lesson I learned from that wacky field trip was that sharing my stuff is not only fun for everyone, but also for me. Before the field trip, I didn't like giving things to people who weren't my friends, but on that day, all my classmates and I played games on my Nintendo. This was way more enjoyable than playing Minecraft by myself. Passing my Nintendo around kept my classmates and I entertained . Not only did I save the teacher and chaperones from the kids’ annoying questions and complaints for a while, but I made sure everyone had some sort of fun that day. Sharing can do way more than you may think– it can help you make friends and save people from boredom. A few years after this, I realized that this is what the saying “what goes around comes around” means. I should do good things for people and good things will happen to me. For instance, offering my leftover snacks at lunch means someone can enjoy the taste and no food will go to waste.

This field trip also helped me develop the skill of being able to look at the bright side of a bad situation. I thought to myself at the time, at least my Nintendo hasn’t died yet, and my classmates and I get free ice cream and water from my dad. I was also glad that my best friend came on the field trip with me. When we were stuck, I found it to be a learning experience to get to know more about my classmates that I didn't know well. I could also tell that they did not want to be there at all until we had a class game of tag and rolled down a hill. I helped calm down some kids who wanted to go home. I gave out my snacks to my friends and some other kids, and we had one of the best picnics I have ever had in my life. Another thing that allowed me to see past the negatives was the quality time I spent with my best friend Klever — she had a strict mom, so I could only see her during school hours. Furthermore, I had weighed the pros and cons of the situation, and the only con was being in an unknown place that we could explore. Looking at the better side of things may help people find solutions in a not-so-great situation. When you are optimistic and can smile through a situation that didn’t go as planned, you can not only make yourself happier, but also those around you. When you look at the dark side of the problem, the opposite happens.

I enjoyed that day and I believe that this experience has made me a wiser and better person today. It reminded me to stay positive, to make the most out of my experiences, and to share with and help my community whenever I get the chance. Helping the people around you does not only benefit them, but can help you grow as well. This experience showed me that any memory in your life can be a learning opportunity and can be seen in different ways depending on your perspective. Whether the experience was good or bad, you can always choose how you want to see it. It amazes me how I learned these things at ten years old based on one day of my life.

Obviously your lesson-learning memories will be different from mine since we have different experiences, opinions, and perspectives. Just remember — when you're in the middle of an experience, you never know how you will look back at it. As a result, I always live life to the fullest. But I can't tell you what to do. I just hope you will take my advice.

Jordan Johnson is 13 years old and eighth grade honors class student in New York. Jordan enjoys practicing Taekwondo and ranks as a brown belt. Jordan also enjoys playing basketball, biking, and spending time with friends.