Anya Zimmerman-Smith (Class of 2016) Reflects on her Gap Year and Journey Towards becoming a Global Citizen

Anya Zimmerman-Smith graduated from SFWHS in 2016. She just finished Gap at Glen Brook, a gap year program in New Hampshire that focuses on developing a sense of responsibility for the world and others, as well as skills for self-reliant and independent living. Anya attributes her interest in community living, self-sustainability and philosophy to her time at Gap at Glen Brook. She is headed to Claremont McKenna College this coming fall.

"At Glen Brook, I studied how my individual actions affect the world around me and how to positively channel that energy. I am developing what I believe in and how I want to act in the world and I think that fire was lit in me much earlier during my years at SFWHS. Through my education, I was able to cultivate different sides of myself. My intellectual, practical and artistic knowledge has developed so strongly and has allowed me to see the vibrant interconnection between all parts of life."

Anya lived with eleven other young adults at Gap at Glen Brook. Through a creative lens, she worked with her peers to cultivate a sense of life-long learning and activism and participated in farming, writing, outdoor leadership, moral philosophy and global citizenship classes. During Gap at Glen Brook, Anya and her group also visited socially and environmentally conscious businesses such as Badger Cosmetics and Orchard Hill Bakery, which sparked new and exciting interests and possibilities for her future.

"I am always pondering how I affect the world and how I can make a difference. I want my role in the world to be one that creates opportunities for people to engage in empathetic, creative and supportive communities and to foster those qualities within themselves."

Anya personally experienced such levels of support during her gap year at Gap at Glen Brook and is excited to continue her learning and engagement in Israel, where she will spend some time working on a biodynamic farm.

At Waldorf, Anya learned that there is opportunity in everything, every experience and every conversation. She gained a critical yet open mind and a thriving curiosity of the world. Anya believes that Waldorf inspired in her a new way of thinking, and one that is altruistic.

Her advice to her peers, those still at SFWS and those still on their journey of self-discovery is this: "Life is so exciting and there is so much opportunity in the world for each of us to grow and learn and laugh. Don't worry too much socially and make the most out of whatever you are given or whatever situation you are in. You can have a deeply satisfying and gratifying life no matter what path you take."