Tufts in Talloires: The hiking engineer

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

By Hernan Gallegos

Hernan - post 2When I heard that I would be hiking, I knew how I felt—uncertain. I’ve never hiked before, and the thought of walking over tough terrain in inclement weather made me feel uncomfortable. Once we (the students) started, I surprisingly enjoyed the somewhat difficult walk. It was a simple task, and the sound of the gravel under my feet helped me continue the hike with ease.

Once arriving at the top, we encountered a fork in the road. We first traversed onto the path that lead us to a waterfall. I did not think much of it, but once we arrived, I was shocked. I admired the waterfall’s natural beauty, how it rushed from the beginning of the drop to the end. I felt like I could have stayed all day.

After that small encounter, we walked the other path; there was a perfect view of Lake Annecy. I looked out from that viewpoint and felt the beauty emerge from the lake. I never thought to see such beautiful things throughout the hike. So we continued walking towards our final destination, St. Germain’s Cave.

Once inside the cave, I reflected on the hike. I wondered why this trip resonated so much with me. Then I made the connection between hiking and engineering, that there are many uncertainties with many of life’s problems. It makes it difficult for people to approach these problems. But if you dive into the uncertainty-filled problems with confidence, the answer will forge itself. This hike helped me view engineering as more than just something procedural. It gave me a sense of a more humane perspective.

I am glad to say that hiking is something I look forward to now with confidence!

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

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