We went from complete strangers, to acquaintances, to friends. The Summer College 2010 Hotelies are people I will never forget. From the very first moment we all met, there were shy faces in the room, there were awkward silences, and curious stares. But as soon as we were just a little bit comfortable with each other, all of the walls came down.
There were endless days, with endless amount of work, class hours, lectures, and office hours, but in the end it was all worth it. We spent three weeks away from home and while at first I couldn’t wait for them to go by, in the end, three weeks wasn’t enough time. I still can’t believe how much I learned, how attached I got to the friends I made, and how everything can change in the blink of an eye. Sunday night as I was laying in my bed, I realized it had only been a couple of hours ago that I was on the other side of the country. In the morning when I woke up, I realized it had only been the day before where I would have to get up and go to Appel Commons for breakfast. Today is Monday, and now I realize that last week, I was in class at this time. Learning all about Hotel Operations and Management.
The experience started July 23rd, as we headed out from El Cerrito High School. The problems started, after we landed in Chicago O’ Hare airport and didn’t realized our connecting flight had been cancelled. We spent 23 hours in an airport. Finally, we were on a flight to Hartford, Connecticut. From there we drove for about 6 hours to Syracuse. It was all smooth sailing from there. Lesson learned: Keep calm, stay reasonable, and keep a positive attitude, even under the worst situations. Once you’ve reached rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.
June 26th, we were in Ithaca, New York. This is where our real adventure began. Students from across the country, throughout the world all poured into one room with their parents. We were introduced to Cornell’s Summer College Program. We were constantly reminded, we were in Summer COLLEGE not Summer CAMP. I never confused these terms, it was very clear to me, the amount of work that was ahead of us, but I had no idea how much I would actually learn from the course work. Lesson learned: expect the unexpected.
After the first two days of class, time began to fly. I would meet people one day, within the next three, they were my best friend. I felt like I had known these people my whole lives. I knew their life stories, and they knew mine. They warned us in class, our professors said, some the friendships made in this classroom last a lifetime. Lesson learned: believe the unbelievable.
On the very last day, as I had to hug everyone goodbye, tears started rolling down my cheeks. I had no idea how attached I had gotten. I honestly didn’t think I would cry, but it’s hard having to say goodbye to people especially if you’re unsure of when the next time you see them will be. On the plane ride home, I couldn’t believe how much I had accomplished in the past three weeks. I couldn’t believe how many months of preparation had gone into our three week adventure. Lesson learned: good things come to those who wait. Sometimes anticipation is the best preparation.
The most valuable life lessons come in the most unexpected packages. I’ve gotten a small taste of college life. I know what I need to look out for, and what I need to consider before I make a choice that will affect the next four years of my life after high school. I have a lot of thinking to do, but truthfully, I feel like this experience has prepared me to take the next big step. To go outside of my comfort zone and pick a school that’s best for me, not just the most popular school that everyone knows about. I'm truly grateful for all of these.