Summer revelations

Three week program enlightens student about post-high school life


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Story by Celeste Anderson, editor in chief

This summer, I received the privilege of attending the BRIDGE program in biomedical sciences, a competitive summer program of three weeks offered at Sewanee: The University of the South. During my time at Sewanee, I attended real university classes held by tenured professors; the 27 students, including myself, who were accepted into this biomedical program chose from a list of courses we wanted to take with three mandatory classes: the History of Medicine, Calculus I or II and Molecular Biology. We lived in a dorm with a roommate and suitemates, ate at McClurg, the university dining hall, and did all activities that a true Sewanee student does.

As I walked to the dorm building, suitcases, parents and grandparents in tote, I remember looking around at all the other students in the BRIDGE program and realizing how different we all truly were. The different races, ethnicities, sexes and origins flooded the room, and I instantly knew I found my place.

During the first couple days, or should I say day, I quickly connected with each and every one of the students on a personal level. It was easy to talk to them, regardless of our different opinions, cultures and interests. In fact, one of my best friends was made through this experience and we talk frequently, even though we live nine hours from each other.

After the first week, I got used to the schedule of waking up, going to class, going to the gym, hiking, watching movies, playing Cards against Humanity and just simply talking to the people I now call friends.

While the people were great and the experience was beyond fun, I did learn a couple things about my life and life after high school throughout the program.

First, I was a tiny bit homesick. Not bad, but three weeks spent nine hours away from home was hard, due to the fact that I missed my parents, my sisters and my dog. However, it gets better progressively; if I were to track my feelings on a graph, the result would look something like a parabola. In the beginning, I was excited about being with new people, new experiences and a new way of life. Toward the middle of the program, the new high started to wear off and I began to think of my family and life back home. During this time, I contacted my parents a lot more and FaceTime was basically my savior. After this slump, my enjoyment of my classes, friends and activities brought me back to the high. All this goes to say that, in university, the ups and downs of being away from all I know will level out; it will get better.

Another important lesson I learned at Sewanee was the things I worried, and continue to worry, about in high school are all really inconsequential in the end. The extreme amount of effort I put into having the highest class rank possible—  doesn’t matter. Who has what kind of car and the model—  doesn’t matter. Who has what that is so much better than mine— doesn’t matter. What clothes, shoes and materials I have—  doesn’t matter. And most importantly: the people who think that all of these things are what makes someone a better, nicer, richer or all of the above person don’t matter. Let me reiterate: the people who bothered me about what things I have, my income, my this, my that do not matter. Once I go to university, I get to decide what kind of people I want to surround myself with, and I guarantee that there will be people in college that are just like me and who share my goals and values. Life gets better.

Thirdly, I should point out that there are things I am going to miss about Texarkana. Maybe it’s my high school—  my favorite teachers, best friends, random experiences that have become memories. Maybe it’s my family— my parents, siblings and pets. Maybe it’s the experiences—  things I’ve done in my years here that have stuck with me. Whatever it is, I promise that I will miss something about this place.

That last part was not meant to be frightening, rather to caution juniors and seniors to enjoy the couple months or years that they have left in this place. They should build memories in their moments left and spend time with their families and friends because they only get so much time left here.

So from my experience at an amazing and life-changing program, I learned to not sweat the small stuff, not to worry over those who mind me on a superficial level and to enjoy the time I have left and I hope that maybe someone else out there will take my advice and apply it to their own life. After all, life gets better but you’ll miss the parts that mattered most.