Andrea Briceno — finding the courage to take risks | SierraSun.com

Andrea Briceno — finding the courage to take risks

Eve Giovenco and Michael Dominguez
Special to the Sun

Andrea Briceno's confidence levels have grown dramatically.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — 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 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.

Recommended Stories For You

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 halfway 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," she said. "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 under way, Andrea is excited for all the possibilities her life holds.

In her personal poem, "The Monarch Butterfly," Andrea describes her metamorphosis through the apt metaphor of a Monarch butterfly.Visit arcprogram.org for more information about Adventure Risk Challenge.

The Monarch Butterfly

By Andrea Briceno

I’m a butterfly and I know that I am no ordinary butterfly

But I want to be more than just a butterfly

It’s just sometimes there are struggles in life that I need to overcome

To be a big beautiful, majestic Monarch butterfly

And just like a butterfly in the wind

Sometimes times are hard to control

I believe that being a Monarch butterfly is going to take some time

To fully develop into a beautiful butterfly

I think that it would be great to be out

And free of this technology-ridden society

You miss a lot when your eyes are glued down to your phone

You miss so much – like the mountains, the river

And being one with nature and it’s such a beautiful experience

You feel like you are flying in the wind without a care in the world

And you can finally be yourself and feel a sort of connection

But I care how society thinks I carry myself

I know that I shouldn’t care what people think of me

And sometimes I don’t but then later on I contradict myself

Because of my self doubt

That’s when I feel bad about myself

I feel like I always let people down because sometimes

I don’t feel confident in myself and how I present myself

I was raised to not let anyone think that they are better than me

But I feel like most people are, even if I say that they aren’t

I know that I shouldn’t do this but I do

I let people’s opinions get in my head and I get upset

I just want to feel more confident

I want to feel important in society

But I’m not sure that I feel like I’m comfortable in society

And I want to feel comfortable in my own skin

I want to be something great in life

I want to stop hiding in my cocoon and flourish into a mature butterfly

But just stay hidden from this harsh reality

It seems like we can never escape

I’m a butterfly trapped in a jar

Waiting to be put on a collector’s wall

Waiting to accept my fate

So I stay closed up, this is why I’m shy

Why I don’t really like talking

I’m worried that if I’m open

If I dance in the meadow’s air

A bird would swoop me up and eat me

And I don’t want to feel like this or think like this but I do

I don’t want to feel boxed in

I want to break free of the chains that are holding me back

I know that I need to change

I know I can change my fate

I know that once I want something I will try with all my might to reach it

Not tomorrow, not the day after that, but today

This very moment

I am a Monarch butterfly no matter what people tell me

I am me and I am proud of who I am