A Fast and Furious week

Sophie Winter - Brazil


September 1, 2017

The week has flown by in a flurry of lectures, field trips, impressive games of sharks and minnows, and finally learning about the tools that are necessary to aid us in the year to come. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting 130 other 18 year olds who chose to take a bridge year and who share the same desire for a taste of global awareness as I do. The last five days have been spent on the stunning campus of Stanford. Which by the way is the closest I'll ever be to attending Stanford. 

Our packed days bring enlightenment to the problems we will face when we delve into a new world. Besides the obvious aspects of physical safety, mental safety is taken very seriously. In one lecture Kory, a teacher of Mindful Thinking, spoke about the battle between our PFC or the Pre-frontal Cortex, and our Amygdala's. Both located in the brain they have very opposite effects on the way we perceive events. While the PFC is our factual side, the amygdala is in charge of raw survival and emotion. What became evident was even if our PFC was sure we were safe, the Amygdala is not always so quick to agree, and it's the art of mindful thinking that will help regain the logical way of thought. There will undoubtedly be ups and downs when one dives into a new culture, country, and community. I know my amygdala will be screaming to run while my PFC will be reassuring the safety of my person, and my hope is that I will be able to embrace the fear and difficulty and turn it into a positive experience. One of the most important things I have come to realize during my week at Stanford is to understand my stretch zone and my panic zone. It's the fine dance between emotional and factual thinking that will keep the next few months attainable.

This is a trust fall. But, unlike other trust falls where one person falls into another's arms. I feel as though I am plunging into the hundreds of arms of fellows, alumni, staff, and my future community. Their support has inspired me to believe that I can speak my mind, grow to become a better person, and plunge head first into a new diverse world. This is unlike any group that I have to come know  and I'm grateful to be able to lean on all their shoulders during this incredible journey. 
Tomorrow we leave for our respective countries and the only only fear I have is missing my flight. Here is what marks the start of the highs and the lows, the good and bad, and here marks the start of our adventure. 

Sophie Winter