Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two weeks ago, I was privileged with the magical experience of traveling to Amherst, Massachusetts for an intensive week-long writing course.

As a rising junior who has never once attended anything resembling “sleepaway camp,” the idea of a summer program seemed slightly foreign and frightening to me. Nevertheless, my time away proved to me, firstly, that I can definitely handle being away from home (except less so when I get sick), and secondly - I am so terribly excited for college.

When I was in preschool, I cried and protested and generally displayed symptoms of anxiety whenever my mother prepared to drop me off. However, moments after she left, these symptoms disappeared completely.

This naive adaptability seemed to translate into my experience this summer, because although the car ride to the dorms was one of my most anxiety-ridden moments ever, I felt at home by the time I slid my room key into the door.

Because our courses were so specialized, the program's population (48-ish) was divided into four workshop groups – two for poetry and two for fiction. My poetry workshop consisted of twelve students and two teachers, which made for a super close, comfortable atmosphere.

Much to my disappointment, I became quite run-down and sick halfway through the week. Though this was probably because I slept between the hours of 1:30 and 7, I blamed it on my bad luck and uncanny ability to catch colds at terrible times. Although I am a lame advice-giver, if I were to give any advice to someone on their way to a summer program, that advice would be: SLEEP. My time at the program was scheduled practically to the bone from 8 am to 10 pm, but the 3+ hours I devoted each night to my assignments could’ve been spread out more evenly through the day.

Despite my sleep debt and scratchy throat, the week I spent devoted entirely to the ideas and art that I love was one of the best I've ever experienced. I do hate to end with such an enthusiastic message, but I want to assure those who are unsure about a potential summer program: If you pick something you truly want to study, you will inevitably love even the most sickly of moments.

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