Alumni Spotlight: Samuel Wilson Hinkley

Sam is an explorer always looking for the next adventure. His hobbies include fishing, hiking, and camping. He loves traveling, but also makes time for enjoying the here and now.

Why did you choose this program?

I choose Gap at Glenbrook because I wanted to do something unique for my Gap semester. I knew that I wanted to do a gap that would be both exciting and learning intensive. I did not want to be one of those people who doesn't do anything with their semester or even year. I knew that, if I was going to do a gap, I wanted to do something where I would be able to learn in a "non-traditional" way.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Gap at Glenbrook assisted me by making the interview process very easy. The process begins with an online form that makes you really question the "why" of your Gap. Further, they give a list of everything you will need during your gap with them at Glenbrook. The only thing you really have to do on your own, is prepare yourself and head over to Glenbrook.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

The one piece I would give to anyone going into Gap at Glenbrook is to keep your mind totally open and try everything that Glenbrook offers. The people at Glenbrook are great and will absolutely push everyone to give their best everyday, but no one will make you do anything you don't want to do. If you keep an open mind, and do as much as you can during your time at Glenbrook, I promise that you will get everything out of it that you can.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The program evolves during the time that you are at Glenbrook, but for the most part your day is spent outside. Glenbrook follows what they term the "low-tech" diet, which is extraordinarily refreshing considering we live in a world of constant technological stimulation. The day is spent going to workshops, Socratic seminars, helping out on the farm, and enjoying the New Hampshire wilderness. The weekend is more on the Gappers, and many weekends we went into the neighboring town of Keene to watch a movie, get some food, or visit the shops.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

While Gap at Glenbrook is a domestic program, I did have some fears going into Glenbrook that are completely natural. It is always hard meeting an entirely new group of people but the staff and the opening programs make it very easy to bond with the fellow Gappers. I was able to meet so many varied people from all over the world, and make real lasting friendships. Overcoming the fear of meeting new people is what really helped when everyone lives together and works together. It certainly helps form tight bonds between everyone.

What singular experience had the greatest impact on you?

Near the end of Gap at Glenbrook, the Gappers choose their own "Deep Dive", which is essentially a project that gives back to the Glenbrook community, and leaves our mark on the land. Me and 3 other Gappers embarked on expanding a field for cattle, and building a fence with the felled trees. During the course of 2 weeks, we felled 333 trees using only axes and saws, and using a technique showed to us by a friend of ours and Glenbrook, and created a brush fence 475 feet in length. I learned that with the proper tools, mindset, and hard work, your goals are within reach. Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but because of this idea we did something none of us could have imagined doing mere weeks before we actually did it.