At camp, I met many people from areas around the country and even around the world. I feel like we all have something to learn from each other, and that doesn’t always have to be based on academics. Meeting new people just adds a whole new dimension to our lives, and my camp-filled summer has taught me that. I’m going to be honest — I did meet some unpleasant individuals in my class, but they were far outnumbered by the great people I met. Through the people, the classes, and the new experience of living (sans parents), I have learned lessons that will guide me through the last two years of high school, into college, and beyond.
I’m not very picky when it comes to the physical layout of a school, but it was good to experience two different kinds of campuses this summer, a private and public university. I can honestly say that I felt very comfortable in both. The open campus of Brown, where the university buildings blended into the city, gave us the freedom to walk anywhere and everywhere. Many buildings were detached from the main campus, opening the university to the outside world. For example, I would walk through town to get to my class, allowing me to easily pick up a coffee or a snack on the way.
The University of Maryland, on the other hand, had a defined campus with clear campus borders. It gave it a restricted feeling at first, but upon entering the campus itself, I was awed at the size of the campus, which had massive buildings, sports fields, and even its own farm. Despite the size, it was very well maintained and the environment felt very safe, since there were always students, teachers, and visitors walking around. Although summer students were restricted to campus only, the opportunities to have fun on campus were endless.
Living at a university taught me to be inspired, be organized, and be happy. Most importantly, your priority should be taking care of yourself. A university lifestyle requires independence and self-motivation, both in learning and everyday affairs. Dorms are a bit difficult to get used to, especially the showers (which are disasters compared to home). Completing homework is a must — professors (even summer course lecturers) will not have much sympathy when it comes to understanding material that was covered the week before. One of my professors told me that being at the top of the class in your high school doesn’t guarantee you won’t struggle in college: arrogance is never welcome. If you cannot figure out something yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help ASAP!
All in all, I can happily say that I enjoyed these valuable two months of summer, and I look forward to what the last week of summer has in store for me.