As soon as I arrived at Cornell, I already knew I would hate the amount of walking I would have to do. I dragged my suitcase, carry on, and backpack up a hill and several flights of stairs. I thought I would never make it up to my dorm. Little did I know, I soon grew used to it and made an amazing group of friends while walking all around Cornell's campus.
It took me about two weeks to find a solid group of friends that I felt really close to. Before this, I met a lot of people and knew who they were, but they weren't really people I felt as if I'd stay in contact with. I had heard so much about how you'll meet life-long friends that you do so much with. So, needless to say, I was a little bit disappointed at the very beginning, but as time went on I met a great group of friends that I ended up ordering late night snacks with and cracking up laughing while studying for exams. I’ve never had so much fun studying because I usually just study by myself since I find it to be more efficient, but studying in a group really showed how sometimes a break is necessary and motivation from others can really help. It also helped when the other person had a different understanding and explained it to me through their eyes, which showed me a different way of thinking.
In terms of academics, it was an amazing environment. I’ve never been in a more academically focused environment before. Everyone was always on top of their reading because no one wanted to fall behind. This motivated me to not only keep up with the large amount of reading, but actually take the time to understand the text rather than just skim through it because I wanted to be able to participate in the discussions and give my opinions. I would say I was barely slightly above average in the class and I didn’t care at all. Usually, I care a lot about grades and work hard to maintain an A in every class, but at Cornell it didn’t really matter because I knew I was learning a lot of material and giving it my all. It was just truly about wanting to learn rather than trying to get a good grade in a subject that I was forced to take to fulfill requirements.
After coming home, I’ve realized how different I am in terms of work ethic. Before, it would take me forever to start doing any work, but after going through Summer College, I’m able to just sit at my desk and work for hours without really thinking about anything else. I think this is because the amount of work I have to do now seems so small compared to what I did at Summer College. Also, I’ve realized how much easier it is to do work if you really have nothing else to do. At Cornell, I would have to walk out in the hot sun and for a long time before I could get anywhere, so I really didn’t feel motivated to go out to far places that often.
Not only am I better work wise, but I can definitely tell I’m less of a brat. I don’t really care if I have to do laundry or fold clothes anymore because it’s so much easier doing laundry at home than it was at the dorms. The washing machine is right next to my room and I don’t have to drag it to the basement. Nor do I have to swipe a card before washing my clothes. I can just load my clothes and press some buttons. After being away from home for three weeks and essentially having to take care of myself, I’ve learned how great being at home and having everything on the same floor. Before this trip, there were times when I was even too lazy to walk ten steps to the bathroom because it was so far away, but at Cornell I had to walk so much more and do so much more just to go to the bathroom. I had to make sure I didn’t leave my keys, have my ID card, etc.
Altogether, this was truly a life-changing experience that gave me a glimpse of what college will be like. Not only was it similar to college academically, but also the amount of freedom I had. I never had to think about really telling anybody where I was or what I was doing. If I wanted to go to the mall then I would take a bus to the mall and I didn’t have to inform anybody, which was pretty amazing. For once in my life, I was treated as an adult and I thoroughly enjoyed it and it makes me really look forward to college. Of course, it all came with a lot of responsibility and things that I needed to remember to do. All of this taught me a lot about time management. I always had to plan out time for homework, laundry, and especially food because the dining halls were only open during certain times and I really didn’t want to miss a meal. Even if there were times that I felt pained having to do everything, I still wouldn’t trade this experience for anything because of how much I grew as a person, both academically and mentally (my mom says physically too, but I don't see it).