My Experience at the Summer College Program Fair

by De’ja Fitzell, Collins Academy High School, Class of 2016

De'ja Fitzell (pink shirt) and other Scholars at the Summer College Program Fair.
The first time the Schuler staff told me I was required to go to a Summer College Program, I was very excited because it meant that I would get the chance to meet new people and also get a sense of the college experience.  I knew that this would be an advantage for me because it would give me the opportunity to prepare for real college life which is not too far away in my future.  However, when I heard that I would most likely have to go by myself, I broke down—I was nervous, scared, and emotional. I thought, “I do not want to go to another state by myself.” I wanted to go with a friend because I would feel more comfortable and supported with them by my side.

I did, however, learn that one of the reasons that I could benefit from going alone was that I would learn how to make new friends. At first, I thought, “I don’t want to make new friends, especially if I might never see them again”, but I realized that it’s beneficial to make new friends because I would learn new things about people who aren’t the same as I am. Given this newfound knowledge, I was enthusiastic but also scared and worried because I knew that, in order for me to go to a Summer College Program, I would have to sacrifice some things this summer like playing basketball and going to Texas to visit my father.

Learning about the Summer College Programs left me with a lot of questions and concerns, so when I found out about the Summer College Program Fair, where I would be able to ask questions about the colleges, I was grateful for the opportunity to learn more about both of the colleges that I am going to apply to. I'm applying to Discover Hopkins at Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt Summer Academy at Vanderbilt University because I’m interested in the medical field. I honestly didn’t know which school I was more interested in attending because I didn’t know what type of courses each school had that I would be interested in.

 When I sat down at my first table at the Summer College Fair it was for Vanderbilt.  There weren’t that many students at the table, and at first I didn’t speak at all. After a while I became more comfortable because the Vanderbilt representative described a course that sounded interesting to me. After hearing everything about this course, I became very excited. This course is called Med School 101, and I liked the course because it covers different topics like chemistry and biology. In the Vanderbilt program students are also taught about the different types of drugs and medications, which is perfect for my interest in medicine. I also really liked how the Vanderbilt program gives you a lot of free time so that you can go off campus and do fun things after going to classes and study halls.

Then I went to my next summer college program--Johns Hopkins. I really liked how the Johns Hopkins representative had a vibrant personality and that alone made me more curious about the Johns Hopkins program. There are so many different courses to choose from! I learned that I can take one course for the first two weeks and then I can take a different course for the last two weeks. I really like that, because I can study two different subjects during my time in the program instead of one like the other programs.  Just like Vanderbilt, I like that they give us free time and let us go off campus, but at Johns Hopkins I will also have the opportunity to visit the on-campus hospital.

Both programs sound engaging and intriguing. I also got the chance to speak with two girls who attended John Hopkins last year when they were sophomores.  They told me that they were feeling just as anxious as I felt the first time I heard about Summer College Programs. By listening to their experiences, I became really eager to attend the programs. I just can’t wait because I know that after my first experience I will want to go to another Summer Program next year. I am looking forward to having fun, learning, participating in activities, and making new friends. 


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