I just spent the last 3 weeks at Stanford for the Stanford Pre Collegiate Summer Institutes. And I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. This was the longest I’ve lived away from home without my family. And as an internationally reputed camp, SPCSI allowed me to meet people from all over the globe. Though the academic part of the course was on Artificial Intelligence, I really learned so much more.
For one, I learned how to live independently. I’m really glad I got this experience since it’s pretty much the best preparation for college life and the future. I had to learn to not be dependent on my parents. I had to buy myself food, do my laundry, and decide for myself when to get to bed XP. I had to set myself a schedule for how I wanted to get things done. No one forces students to do the reading or homework here. So I took my own initiative at all times to get things done. I’m so proud of my new sense of independence.
I also got to go on amazing field trips and learn even more!
At the California Academy Sciences I got to learn about so many different animal species and how they work together in the world ecosystem.
At the Computer History museum, I learned about the very first computers and how they eventually modernized. I even got to sit in a self-driving car.
At the Cantor Art Center, I got the see enthralling pieces and how art has changed over time.
I also got to learn about different people’s lives around America and the world. My roommate was from Turkey and taught me a lot about Turkish culture and how it is influenced by the US. She talked about the struggles of an international student and adjusting to American life. We developed a really strong bond and I’m so grateful to have her as my friend.
My other roommate was from Chicago and she taught me about how greatly people’s lifestyles can differ within the same country. She consistently goes against stereotypes and predetermined labels. She is a female interested in the tech field, she cuts her hair into a short boy-cut, and wears mens clothing, but still is proud of her gender as well as her sexuality as a lesbian. Her lifestyle is so different from mine and I admire her strength.
I had the priceless opportunity to get to know 44 amazing students who were both so alike me and yet so different at the same time. We bonded so much over these 3 weeks.
Learning from so many different people and their stance on life has really made me think about my position in life. At home, I can feel very clear about who I am and my place in society. At school, I’m seen as one of the smartest kids in the class. However, at camp, I was surrounded by a completely new group of people and my place in the world felt different. Surrounded by kids from around the world who had also been the best in their respective classes pushed me academically to my limits. I was no longer the star in class. I felt just average, mediocre. I worked so hard and at times I really felt like giving up. I questioned who I really was. Now I realize that there is so much more to me as a person than just the label “smart.” I’m kind, friendly, active, fun, silly, beautiful, quirky, and so much more than simply academic performance. I’m so glad I got to have this amazing experience because it has truly changed the way I look at life and my position in the world. I seriously just can’t put into words how much I appreciate this experience and how glad I am that I was able to do this.
Thank you Stanford for the Stanford Pre Collegiate Summer Institutes. Thank you for the experience to bond with others, gain knowledge about new cutting edge topics, and learn about myself.