NYU Alternative Breaks Health! Institute

I could not resist the pun. Apologies.

Prior to the health! trip, I formed a list of expectations in my head. Volunteer opportunities, friendships, countless photographs, and inevitable smiles. However, all of these things seem to be a service trip. And looking back on the memories made and the encounters shared, I realize that the biggest impact that health! has left on me is self-development.

I've never been able to count on my own abilities to make a remarkable experience. During any particular event, you will find me focusing on the faces and comments of others, pinpointing their leadership or shyness in the group, or simply staring thoughtfully into the distance. This aspect of my personality did not change during the first few days at the institute; during nightly reflections, I've rarely wanted to speak because I'm so intrigued by the words of others. The members around me seemed so confident in what they were saying, and always received positive feedback; and I, feeling neither self-assured nor presentable in a group of such witty and well-spoken individuals, chose to remain silent at least a few people had spoken. I simply did not want to embarrass myself and risk the disappointment of silence. But as the days went on, I realized that everyone's voice truly mattered in the health! endeavor (endeavor) is one of my favorite words).

For instance, when the Hillsboro Farmstand was devised, and the procedures were not limited to the builders or the site leaders themselves. All of the members were split into groups, which were categorized and allowed each individual to use his or her abilities to full potential. This was an admirable act that allowed me to use my passion for the farmstand signs, which turned out to be a fascinating success. In the end, health! helped me find the voice.

I thus developed a considerable self-esteem boost during this trip, which was surprising and somewhat impressive. I used to be …

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