Into The Wild - Caitlyn McTavish          

Into The Wild Essay

Alexander Supertramp
An article by Caitlyn McTavish

When Chris McCandless graduated from Emory University in 1990, he had only one goal; to go on a great Alaskan adventure. While he had the grades to pursue law school, Chris wanted to make a radical change in his life. Chris’ original journey happened over twenty years ago, and film adaptions were made ten years later, his story still remains relevant to the students of today.

The future looms over all of us, whether we are froshies worried about getting good enough grades to continue in the studies of our choice, or graduating students desperately searching for jobs. It doesn’t surprise me that my fellow students have such predetermined goals and plans for the future. Everywhere you look people are planning, scheduling, and preparing. We are taught these basic skills from a young age and we learn to equip ourselves for our future endeavours. In the documentary The Call of the Wild, the director attends the graduation ceremony at Chris’ alma mater, and asks students what their plans are post-graduation. The director was looking for the next Chris McCandless – an adventurous wanderer - but instead found students with impressive job offers and acceptance letters to the best grad schools. Not one Chris McCandless in the group.

Chris McCandless believed that “careers are a 20th century invention,” so he set out into the wild for a greater learning experience. Chris had no map, no agenda, and no responsibilities but he had the freedom to travel and the spirit of adventure. The great outdoors was his new classroom, and throughout his journey Chris learned a lot about life. While I don’t disregard the university as an institution that fosters a valuable educational experience, I do believe that learning happens beyond an academic setting. True learning can happen when we take risks and are put in uncomfortable situations.

In the film, Chris states, “The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

This summer, I encourage Queen’s students to forget about the pressure and stress of their looming future and to delve deep “into the wild.”


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