"Lying under the stars, I thought about how I didn’t need to find my place in the universe, I just had to be me." -Xander S., Fall '17

 Xander posing with their Deep Dive project: building a chicken coop!

Xander posing with their Deep Dive project: building a chicken coop!

Fall 2018 Gapper Xander S. shares their reflections on their gap experience, one year after the program. Read more below:

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I was unsure about a lot of things when I first came to Glen Brook. Many of my anxieties were college related, and I feared that I was not prepared to make rational and mature decisions at that point in time. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, and I stumbled a lot during my time there, but I gained valuable perspective and learned skills that I use today. Living with others created an environment of camaraderie and support. We were alone together, and we learned how to function together. We took on important tasks such as navigating our way through a river, and cooking dinner when we were camping. One thing above all others was that my housemates were always there for me, and I was there for them. They never failed to make me laugh, smile, cry, and fume with anger. We trusted each other, and for those three months, we became a family. A part of what made my time at Glen Brook so special was that I wasn’t alone in the experience, and I could always count of my fellow gappers to be the teammates, companions, and friends.

 Xander up high in the trees on the ropes course

Jake and Alison encouraged my growth, and challenged me to think about the world differently. They inspire and motivate me today to think about problems creatively. When I was on the high ropes course, and didn’t want to go any higher, they cheered me on and pushed me forward when I needed it most. I got frustrated a lot, Their support and motivation pushed me to keep going forward, and I found that there was always something to learn from a new experience.  

The land that Glen Brook encompassed really stood out to me as well. Throughout my time there, I explored the woods, and felt a comfort in the vastness of it. I got lost there, and I did my first 36 hour solo there. Lying under the stars, I thought about how I didn’t need to find my place in the universe, I just had to be me. I’ve struggled a lot with self image and my own self worth. Glen Brook gave me the opportunity to come out of my shell and helped me develop the courage to bring my perspective into the world.

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