Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty

By: Gabe Thornton

I spent 25 long days in the wilderness. Then I spent 7 on the roads of Wyoming as well as on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It would only make sense that my very first free day would start at 5am with myself vomiting in the basement bathroom of the Coder Family household. We have a term we brought with us from our time at NOLS. It’s one of our main characteristics of a good leader. We call it tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. One could call it tolerance for nausea and flu like symptoms, it’s basically synonymous.

The point of this post is not to nauseate my readers with vivid descriptions and complaints of pepto bismol colored bile or last night’s carrots and broccoli. That would be downright inconsiderate. The point is to translate that even in the worst of times our team here seems to pull through. I was not alone in this 24 hour plague that struck our cohort upon entering Omaha a few days ago. Many of my peers lay bed ridden and unsure if they would be able to travel the next day. We pulled together, albeit a little late, and managed to make it to St. Louis today at a reasonable time.

There was never a moment through this entirely uncalled for event that I felt despair or lack of support from my family here. I was conscious for many friendly visitations and well wishes but also slept through many more. I was never alone. It’s experiences like this that reassure me that this group will come out strong through the worst of times. When there’s weight that cant be held any longer by an individual, that metaphorical back pack will be picked right up by a more able peer. We share a confidence that anything we’d do for each other would be expected in return. With this in mind, I know we will get the most out of the rest of this experience. We are always looking out for each other here on the Gap Semester, which gives us all the more opportunity to learn.

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