Beautiful Mess: Brekke

Beautiful Mess: Brekke

Anna Ogilvie, In Depth Editor

I had popped into Brekke’s for a last minute request for scholarship supplements (procrastination is bad, don’t do it.) A few students remained to ask questions about a project and I didn’t want to intrude so I awkwardly walked over to a bookshelf to occupy myself. I wasn’t looking for anything, just trying to avoid hovering, which is uncomfortable for anyone. My eye caught this bright blue book.

It was one of those cheesy books overwhelming filled with sappy life advice, “Life 101” by Peter McWilliams. I flipped through a few pages and found this chapter about how to be supportive for others. I was hooked and held onto the book.

That night, one of my best friends got that crummy letter from a college saying that they didn’t choose her for one of their overrated spots in the class of 2019. She came over and I tried to just listen. Then later that same night I found out that a mentor of someone near and dear to me had passed away; I again thought about the power of being attentive to other’s words. Who knew that something I picked up on a whim could have such an impact on me. Now, I owe so much to Brekke’s collection of books.

I don’t actually know how I met Mr. Brekke. I think it was one day when Ella Bartlett and I were talking about the Gatsby play we had seen. Mr. Brekke joined the conversation and we relished in our similar feelings towards it. From then on, I found great comfort in talking to Brekke about books, plays, current events, and just life in general.

Mr. Brekke over these past few months has reminded me how powerful handwritten ideas can be, how to say no, and how to reflect in a healthier way.

“The students here are just a microcosm of the world. It’s great to work with people who are different in their own ways.”

The reason that I find Brekke’s mentorship impactful is that I haven’t had him in class. It’d be hard to get advice on college and career paths if he’d given me a quiz that I wasn’t prepared for just hours earlier.

“The relationship between teachers and students can be fraught with tension and conflict,” said Brekke.

“It’s important to have that kind of interaction, but I’ve enjoyed my roles getting to know students through other mediums like soccer and meditation club.”

I’ve enjoyed having a mentor who I don’t have a teacher-student relationship with. Even if you have a good relationship with someone who instructs you, it’s important to find a leader who could offer you a different kind of insight.

Brekke laughed when I asked him what advice he would give

“You know, I’m actually not a big fan of saying ‘Here’s what you should do.’ You should listen to yourself, and through self reflection, you’ll make the right choice.”

Brekke has been a positive force during my final months in Ames and I’ve started to see how much impact little words of encouragement can be.