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  • Writer's pictureElisha Bae

Stanford Summer Session: Week 1


I've been here before, on a different camp (hyperlink to CTY camp post), which is why the road and classrooms feel so familiar. But this time, I'm not only staying for three weeks but two months.

There's a funny story behind this, though. I never intended to take the 8-week High School Summer College program. Instead, I thought that three weeks of the pre-collegiate program (also at Stanford) would be enough - I've already gotten used to being away from home for that length of time.

What I hadn't noticed (until I've paid and completed my registration) was that I had signed up for the wrong program. How in the world will I survive two months away from home?

I came a little early before camp started to enjoy San Fransisco. This was the first time I travelled with my mom without my dad. It almost didn't feel like a full-fledged vacation without dad trying to take photos of us every 30 seconds. Still, my mom and I made do with strolling in the beautiful hotel garden or going grocery shopping at the local market.

But the time came for me to start camp. The biggest worry I had was sharing a room with someone I didn't know. As an only child, I was always the only one in the room, so it's safe to say that I lacked experience. I tried to relieve my stress by telling myself that my roommates for other camps have been great, so I didn't have to worry.

When I went over to Stanford, the whole campus was lively, even though it was summer (I thought all the students would be out for vacation — my school gets deafeningly quiet during the holidays). After waiting in quite a long queue next to anxious parents and excited students, I finally got my key and other necessary information packets to start my journey.

The dorm was pretty good! Sure, it's no luxury suite, but the view wasn't bad, and I was the first to enter, meaning that I got to choose which side I wanted to use 😉 The whole ordeal of trying to get the bed ready and my luggage sorted was not the most fun part, but it made the room more like home.

After dinner, I said goodbye to my mom. When I returned to my room, my roommate and I decided to get to know each other a little better. She had two younger brothers, so she told me it was easier to share rooms (and tolerate the noise). I knew that we would be great friends, as we both loved reading and found out that we even took a class together! Out of the hundred or something courses, my roommate takes the same course... what are the odds!

Evening came and we, the residents of Mirlo Hall, were called to ‘mingle’ with all the other students. The resident assistants (RAs) were also present, who were all students at Stanford, and they seemed to be a group of bubbly, excited students just like us.

Thankfully, the ‘getting to know people’ wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be. I met some new people along the way (some who were taking the same classes as me, some who know a lot about Korea, and some who I’ve seen during dinner). It was a little bit overwhelming but I was determined to reach out to as many people as possible.

This took quite a lot of my energy so that when people were heading out in groups to do some scavenger hunting, I decided to stay in my room and get ready for bed instead. This is one thing I thoroughly regret after living through one week of camp.

First rule of camp (or probably anywhere with a dedicated ‘orientation time’):

  • Do go out and have some fun with new friends, even if you might not be interested in running around campus like wild animals at 9 o’clock in the evening... because you’ll be rewarded with precious memories and some very funny photos.

If week 1 of the program is this amazing, I'm happy to stay here as long as possible.

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