What I Learned by Rappelling Down Big Blue, by Linda Jones, RN

What I Learned By Rappelling Over Big Blue

By Linda Jones, RN



I participated in “Over the Edge” for lots of reasons. My husband and I like supporting River Bend Nature Center because they help educate the public about the roles of the creatures in our environment. I was an elementary school teacher for more than 20 years before I became a nurse. We are also extremely fond of animals, and we like supporting some of the local rescue groups like the Humane Society, Wild Bird Rescue and others.


But I did it for other reasons, too. It gave me a chance to try something new. It let me get out of my comfort zone, even though rappelling is not entirely new to me.


I did it on several occasions while I worked in the fire department serving as a paramedic. When I rappelled on several occasions while in the fire department, it was only from a height of four stories or fewer. Big Blue is 12 stories tall. Some of the equipment I used to rappel off Big Blue was also different from what I had used in the past, so this was a learning experience for me.


I also did this because I’m a 65-year-old cancer survivor. I just want to make the most of this life on earth before I go to my heavenly home.


Holy, moly! If I were still a teacher, I would certainly love to share these six lessons from my experience with students and my WFISD friends:


  1. Learning is lifelong! You don’t stop learning things once you graduate from high school or college.
  2. You’re never too old to learn! After I retired from teaching, I went back to college and earned my nursing degree. I was 54 years old at the time, the oldest one in my class. But that didn’t stop me. I actually made better grades than the younger people in class, who played with their phones in class instead of listening to the teacher and taking notes. Now, at 65 years old, I still wanted to learn something new. Rappelling down Big Blue was a great opportunity for that.
  3. Don’t be afraid to try new things. This was new for me. I had rappelled from lower heights, but never from something as tall as Big Blue’s 12 stories.
  4. Be ready to learn from those who are more experienced than you. I wanted to rappel off Big Blue, but I didn’t know how. I knew that the “Over the Edge” instructors would teach me.
  5. Pay attention to your teachers and do what they say. Ask questions if you don’t understand or if you need help. I was impressed with the “Over the Edge” instructors. They explained everything to the participants and checked for understanding before we climbed up onto the roof. We even practiced before we rappelled for real.
  6. Knowledge makes things less scary. Rappelling off Big Blue was not frightening at all. The instructors did such a great job giving us the tools we needed and by explaining carefully how to do everything that I knew what to expect. I was mentally and physically prepared for the actual event.

It was so-o-o-o-o-o much fun! Come do it with me next year!


Linda Jones, RN, works as a RN Supervisor at the Career Education Center, Carrigan, Franklin Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Southern Hills Elementary, and Zundy Elementary.