StreetSquashers Get a Taste of College!

After a rigorous application process this spring, select sophomores and juniors were given the opportunity to experience college life at some of the most prestigious universities across the northeast. Read more about all of our students’ opportunities in their reflections below!

Khala ’16 – Syracuse Summer College
I never thought I would have fun at college –not until I spent two weeks at Syracuse University. Every second I spent there was a moment to remember. Whether it was eating food in the dining hall with my friends, in class frustrated because I wasn’t making progress, or struggling to go to sleep at night thinking about the adventure I would have the next day. It all started when I arrived on the 5th of July around 11 in the morning; my stomach was in knots and I didn’t have much of an appetite. I didn’t know what to expect from this program among the different personalities between my roomate, floormates and classmates, the course load, and the nightly activities that were planned, so I tried to go with the flow of things. I really started to get a nice welcoming feeling at our first floor meeting. We all had a chance to introduce ourselves and learn interesting facts about one another; some of the facts were memorable and it was the first step of getting to know my floormates. By the end of the day, I was comfortable with everyone and I knew I was going to have a wonderful time.
Monday was my first day of class and allowed me to really get to know my classmates. They were extremely easy to get along with because they planned for us all to meet on the first floor of Haven Hall to walk to breakfast together. If that isn’t the first step in friendship then I don’t know what is. Everyone was giggly, loved to talk, open-minded, and a little loud but not too crazy–my ideal group of friends. The topics of conversation always varied; we jumped around from talking about school, tests, music, funny/awkward experiences, dogs, cats, death. You name it. The best part was I was NEVER bored with them. Class was easy when it came to having a support system to cheer me on, especially when I failed. The work itself wasn’t super challenging. My main obstacle was trying to be a perfectionist and get it right the first time. I never liked to fail but I had to accept that success isn’t always going to be on its first try. I have to keep trying and I really learned that from my first day of class. I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my 2 weeks with them. IMG_0642
During my time there, I was apart of the Social Club–a club that planned social events such as parties. We ended up planning a rave party as a last going-away party for the 2-week students like myself. It was incredible. In the actual meetings, everyone got a chance to give their ideas, people spoke in turn, and with the casual need bullets flying across the room, it made the meetings extra enjoyable. Every other night was a matter of who to be with and where to go. I befriended people who I didn’t think I would be cool with. I learned not to use my first impressions of people when befriending people because they could be wrong and that is how you miss out on knowing amazing people. If I wasn’t playing cards, I was at the planned event for the night or at the gym. I used my time productively and I was hardly in my room. I am very thankful that I had an experience like this. I will never forget it.

Emma ’16 – Summer @ Brown
This summer I was enrolled in “Summer @ Brown” at Brown University. At the week-long program I decided to take a course titled “Economania” which was an economics class that focused primarily on empirical economics. I learned how to figure out ways to solve problems within our societies. Throughout the class I learned the variety of methods economists use to solve everyday mysteries. I then used those methods in my research proposal and later in my final project. In addition to the summer courses offered at Brown, they also had many clubs and activities students could participate in on campus. During my free time there I played squash, participated in discussions about social justice and did yoga. My favorite of the program was getting the opportunity to study on a college campus. Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 5.31.19 PM
My experience at Brown gave me a chance to become more prepared for what to expect when I enter college. One of the reasons why I liked this program is because the staff and faculty were welcoming with open arms; I hope to find that same type of environment in the school I go to. While the academics at Brown were challenging, I found them very interesting and intriguing. Summer at Brown has definitely helped me gain a better understanding of what type of environment and major I want in a college. After being at Brown I now have more of an idea of my interests and even the things I dislike about college. I can now use this experience to my advantage in terms of determining my future.

Earl ’16 – Rochester Scholars
This past July I was enrolled in Rochester Scholars, a pre-college program at The University of Rochester. The drive up to Rochester took about five hours long, however when I finally arrived at River Campus I knew I was going to have an amazing time. The smell of fresh air hit my face and the quiet setting was one of the best aspects of campus. The pre-college staff were friendly and insisted on helping me carry my bags to my dorm room. I was already getting the college experience as soon as I walked into my dorm room. As soon as I dropped my bags the staff took my group on a tour of the campus. Throughout the tour, I saw different kinds of flowers and animals that I never seen before, such as rabbits, chipmunks, and hedgehogs. The next day I started both of my classes – “The Immune System: A Defense System” and “What’s Up Doc? Exploring the Pre-Med experience.” Throughout each of the courses we did a daily activity that had to deal with the topic. For example, in the immunology class we talked about different type of cells that help defend the body from viruses and diseases. Taking these courses helped me understand what it takes to be successful and also gave me a brief idea of the type of college I want to go to.
Outside the classroom I did extra-curricular activities every day which I really enjoyed. Participating in these activities was a great opportunity for me to make even more friends. The Rochester Pre College was an amazing experience. Being on the Rochester campus, I had a chance to feel how it is to stay in a college dorm, explore the campus and taking college-level courses. I also socialized with other students and built relationships that I know will last beyond my summer at Rochester.