My Social Experience at Dynamy – Finding My Way During My Gap Year

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Featured, Gap Year, Get to Know Dynamy, Independent Living, Student Blog

The first fifteen years of my life, I lived in the same house; a burnt yellow exterior, green carpeting on the stairs, a black and white banister, and ugly red lights hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen. Every corner of that house has a different memory. That was my home, and still is in a sense. However, my life started to shift dramatically after my parent’s divorce; and in the following years, I’d move houses twice, go abroad, live at two different colleges, and still continue to live away and work for summers at a time at sleep away camp. Of all those places, Dynamy has been the hardest but the best residential experience that I’ve had. As a residential gap year program in the United States, Dynamy aims to support students find their passions and connect with others in a collaborative and experiential environment. I’ve had to work through tough situations within my apartment. I’ve had to set harder personal boundaries and be a better self-advocate. But that has also made it the best, because it has taught me an enormous amount about myself and my peers, in regards to my living situation and how I live. 

My social life has never been the best, as I spent most of high school and my year at college without more than one or two friends. I wasted a lot of nights alone, thinking I didn’t deserve any more than what I had. I’d lay on my bed, hopelessly imagining what it would be like to have those breathless nights, screaming car rides blasting music, laughs and memories and craziness with people I cared about. I can’t say I haven’t had many opportunities to start my social life fresh in all the new places I’ve been to. It seemed as though every time I put myself out there, the less it felt I got in return, so I kind of gave up on having real friends. I was nervous Dynamy was going to end up being the same, but I somehow managed to hold out hope that things would be different– and surprise… they were! I made friends quicker than I have anywhere else. Dynamy’s independent living and apartment-style living has provided me with something I’ll cherish forever.

I made more random Walmart and Price Chopper trips than I thought I’d ever make. I went to the playground at night with my friends more than I thought I ever would as a twenty-year-old. I went on more spontaneous drives with no destination than I thought ever would. I have people to do that stuff with now, and though that’s normal for so many people, for me, it’s new and refreshing. But my deep-rooted belief that I was inherently unlikable crept in more often than I would’ve liked. I’m still working through it, and I’m not going to pretend everything is perfect, but I’m in a much better place than I was even just a few months ago. Even as the seasons have shifted in Worcester, and people have come and go, I still remain hopeful that my social life will only get better from here.


Below is a poem written by me, and a good summation of my thoughts and feelings about my (social) life at Dynamy thus far:

 worcester nights

when saturdays aren’t painted with bright colors

and you sit on your bed staring at white walls scattered with mementos

you have to make your own fun

grocery trips

breathlessly running around the park

swinging back and forth

seeing my breath and rubbing my numb hands together

random drives

and walks with a biting chill

earth shaking laughs and the good kind of tears

i didn’t ever have that before

and now i have those

mini anniversaries of strange jokes and spontaneous adventures

so whatever these months have held for you

frustration or freedom

bitter cold or refreshing warmth

you gave me a reality i care to remember

Thanks for reading!

Claire Bender, Current Dynamy Student

To learn more about Dynamy and why it is one of the best gap year programs in the United States, contact them today!

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1 Comment

  1. L.G.M

    This article is wonderful! Claire gently reminds us that a change in our surrounding, wether it be social or physical, can offer the possibilty of new experiences and great growth. Her poem takes us on a trip through the many different experiences that she had at Dynamy. At the very end of her poem she writes…
    “so whatever these months have held for you
    frustration or freedom
    bitter cold or refreshing warmth
    you gave me a reality i care to remember”.


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