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Hi everyone, I’m Sam. I am so nervous and more importantly so excited to meet you all. This trip is like nothing I’ve done before– I’m a natural planner who finds comfort in the structure of calendars, five year plans, and to-do lists– but my world has changed over the past few months in ways I could have never imagined, and I want to take this time to find change in myself as well. Leaving the school I lived at for the past four years without a real goodbye meant stepping away from my community without a clear sense of where I was headed next. Although my first instinct was to hurry to register for college classes and get my life back on track, I began to wonder what it might look like to try something truly out of my comfort zone, what that time could be, and how that time might change me. So many certainties have wobbled or even disappeared in the past few months, but I hope I might find something good in the confusion. And here we are– I do not know what to expect or if I’ll actually be able to hike up the mountains without passing out, but I hope to find friendships with you all and lots of laughter in the hard moments. I want to make time for some moments of reflection in these months, too. I often think about what Virginia Woolf calls the “wedge-shaped core of darkness,” the inner self that we discover when we’re alone with our imaginations, the self that makes us feel limitless and free. On this trip, I’m looking forward to spending time exploring my core of darkness, time which is easy to miss when deadlines and life decisions hover close. I’m nervous but grateful to be able to step away from my plans for a little while, and I hope we make the most of this time together.


Here are some more things about me– I love to read, hang out at the beach, listen to female rappers, watch movies (my favorite is Almost Famous), and go for drives with my friends. I like to sail even though I’m not very good, and I have a serious soft spot for terrible (I mean truly terrible) reality tv. I can’t wait to meet you all. I’ll see you soon!




P.S. The poem’s a little too long, but here’s a stanza I love from Wordsworth’s “Lines.”


These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me

As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:

But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;

And passing even into my purer mind

With tranquil restoration:—feelings too

Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,

As have no slight or trivial influence

On that best portion of a good man’s life,

His little, nameless, unremembered, acts

Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,

To them I may have owed another gift,

Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,

In which the affections gently lead us on,—

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

And even the motion of our human blood

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, and become a living soul:

While with an eye made quiet by the power

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

We see into the life of things.