September 26, 2017

Will Parker ’17, Opinions Editor

Will Parker '17

What do mosquitoes have to do with how Will Parker ‘17 overcame his fear of driving? What does a camping trip have to do with his drive to conquer all challenges he faces?

At age 13, Parker went on a camping trip during the summer. After hiking for four days around Baxter State Park in Maine, he and 15 other campers embarked on the second half of their trip: canoeing down the Penobscot River.

Parker was enjoying himself on the third day of his trip, calling out rocks to his boatmate Bob and steering their canoe through the river. But Parker couldn’t navigate himself out of the situation just around the corner.

As their boat approached a swampy area, Parker and Bob were met by the most irritating reality of camping: mosquitoes. As a camper, Will was accustomed to the occasional bug bite, but this otherwise harmless area was swamped with them. “It was like their capital city,” Parker said.

Suddenly a relaxing ride down the river with friends became an unsolvable problem. “If we didn’t start paddling, we’d get eaten alive,” said Parker. After a heated exchange, the team resolved to endure the mosquitoes and paddle through the swamp, leaving them covered with bug bites on their arms and legs.

Parker admitted it was an unfortunate situation, but he knew “it would make for a great story.” The experience has also provided Parker with a life lesson.

He describes that camping trip as a “test of wills.” He says he can now apply the lessons he learned to the simple things in life that challenge his perseverance. He drew on this experience when he first started driving. Parker saw driving as “something I had to do to grow.” He knew it would be a challenge to become comfortable behind the wheel, but he also recognized it is a responsibility that comes with growing up.

Parker’s experience at that swamp in Maine gives him perspective in dealing with the small challenges he faces every day, an attitude he hopes to bring to The Bradford as Opinions Editor this year.