Earlier this summer, I attended a summer program for high schoolers at Columbia University in NYC. Going into it, I was admittedly terrified. The prospect of spending three weeks in a new city by myself was incomprehensible. Not to mention the winding New York subway system seemed almost impossible to navigate in just three weeks.
However, I quickly realized this would turn out to be the best three weeks of my life. Let me break it down...
Each student who applies for the program is required to choose a course they are interested in. The options range from creative writing to topics as advanced as neuroscience. I chose the painting course, described as a class where I would learn how to build a portfolio, paint with new mediums, and visit different art galleries within Manhattan. We ended up doing all of that, which was actually surprising, as we finished 5 art pieces within 15 days and visited over 5 museums and galleries. The teachers there are all very supportive, especially with answering questions about admissions and college majors. It's a great opportunity to ask professionals questions about college that others might not be able to answer.
Another really rewarding aspect of this program was the independence that it nurtured. By pushing over 700 students into a new city with new people, you're literally forced to adapt to your new surroundings. I entered with a lot of social anxiety and broader anxiety about the city, but I was soon relieved by the overwhelming support from all the other students and Resident Advisors there.
I'll be posting day by day recaps of my time there and what I've learned about independence, art, and New York street food.