It’s like the movies; maybe a little better
I was given the privilege to experience being at a world-renowned university for 3 weeks. I ate at the dining hall, slept at the residence, was lectured by the university’s professor, and even did some activities freshmen traditionally do once they enter the university. Through Stanford University’s Pre-Collegiate Summer Institute, I was able to have a feel of what college is like: the independence and the freedom. The thing is, I expected it to be more like the movies. Except it wasn’t- it was better.
The first thing I realized once I set foot at the residence and saw all the names and the places everyone was from was the diversity. I met people from all around the world. I had classmates who were from the UK, Canada, China, Japan, and I had a classmate who was also from the Philippines. I really enjoyed having someone from the same country as mine. I did not really feel homesick, and I was able to gain a friend I could still meet up with once in a while.
With this diversity, I was able to learn different things from different cultures. I learned how to speak some Japanese and Spanish words, I was able to listen to live Chinese music, and even tried out some practices of different cultures. I became more open minded about the different practices we have and had a sudden realization that we are not all that different. It’s amazing how we can get along even though we were raised in different cultures.
In those 3 weeks, I was introduced to the basics of International Relations. The amount of reading assignments and essays we had to write honestly shocked me. You would not get graded for anything you wrote. We were not even graded for our final presentation. But I guess the challenge was to keep going even if you knew you had nothing in return but the learning experience.
For the love of learning
It gave me the opportunity to study, solely for the love of learning. It allowed me to stretch beyond my capabilities and see my strengths and weaknesses beyond the numbers I usually get in school. The experience itself of being taught by Stanford’s professor and experiencing something not everyone is given the chance to were already more than enough.
After study time, we had the chance to chill down a little with the activities period. Almost every night, we would fill out a survey and choose whichever activity we would want to do the next day. It was a great time to bond with everyone in the residence and the cluster itself. I met more people through the activities period and learned how to do different things such as tie-dye and friendship bracelets. The activities period allowed me to widen my knowledge on things that are not usually found in books.
Learning how to learn
In the 3 weeks of the program, I was able to learn and gain so much knowledge that are worth more than anything in this world. I was able to learn things I can just sow and reap later on. In those 3 weeks, I was able to learn what learning really is about. It is not about the numbers stamped on our foreheads-it’s more than that. It is about learning what your passion really is and using that passion to take you places. I would not trade anything in this world for this learning experience. I gained new knowledge, most importantly knowledge about myself I had not known of the past 16 years.
These three amazing weeks made me look forward into entering a university soon. The excitement the summer camp built was really strong, and it gets even stronger as I create an account in the common app, research about universities, and start my essays.
The changes that will happen to me after four years of possibly studying abroad intrigues me the most. The three weeks I spent at Stanford already taught me so much; It taught me lasting lessons and even gave me a gist of what college life is. If such a short period equipped me with important life experiences, I wonder how spending four years of my learning years there would contribute to my growth as an individual.
It scares me, really, but maybe that’s the good thing about it. The risks I’m taking scares me, but protagonists in movies are also just as uncertain when they take gambles, yet they exhibit stories of joy and success later on. Maybe, just maybe, it will be like the movies; hopefully, even better.
Kelcey Palileo is a fourth year high school student at St. Scholastica’s College Manila. She is currently heading the outreach area in her school. She is fond of connecting her musical capabilities to her charity work, and at the same time, widening her horizons in music.