Andrea Briceno was a quiet and often unenthusiastic student. Now beginning her sophomore year in high school as a recent participant of Adventure Risk Challenge’s (ARC) summer course, Andrea says there are so many positive changes for her this school year.
Before ARC, Andrea had trouble focusing on her studies and was reluctant to try new experiences – academic, social, and otherwise. She was a self-proclaimed video-gamer spending much of her time with a control in her hand.
Andrea had a great deal of ambivalence about joining the summer course. Leaving her twin sister at home while seeking an experience that would help her “find my true self” took a great deal of courage. Going from her tight bond, no-secrets relationship with her twin, learning to trust others was a stretch for her.
During the beginning few days of ARC’s summer course, Andrea would occasionally refrain from participating in group activities, often with an air of indifference. But taking the words of Eleanor Roosevelt to heart, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” Andrea has since blossomed into a courageous individual and is more willing than before to be an open, honest person more accepting of emotional vulnerability. This served as a catalyst for her focus in class, her willingness to be more sociable, and her assuredness in exploring new things.
The most pivotal moment for Andrea was half way through the course where participants had time alone in nature to reflect on their lives – dubbed the ‘solo’. “If I could go back and do one thing from ARC it would have to be the solo. I learned a lot about myself and things were turned around for me after that.”
Now, Andrea finds herself more active and social. She proudly speaks of joining the high school’s track team and her newfound enthusiasm for English class. When asked what about her has changed Andrea noted, “I used to be a bit awkward and always down on myself but now that I know I can work hard to change things in my life things have gotten so much better.”
With the new school year underway, Andrea is excited for all the possibilities her life holds. In her personal poem, Andrea describes her metamorphosis through the apt metaphor of a Monarch butterfly.
Please continue reading Andrea’s poem The Monarch Butterfly. Read More