I think it’s safe to say that no one enjoys long-haul flights. But my 25 hours from Kuwait to Los Angeles was absolutely worth it. I left home for 3 weeks to be part of Summer Discovery’s UCLA pre-college program, and not only did I have the time of my life, but I was able to go through an independent experience that helped me in numerous ways. SDUCLA is a controlled, safe environment where I was able to make my own decisions about simple things (what activity I wanted to do, what classes I wanted to take, or what I wanted to wear) and about important things (who I wanted hang out with and how to spend my money). At SDUCLA, I was given the opportunity to interact with people face-to-face and, at the same time, learn about myself and others around a bon fire, in the dorm halls, or sitting around a dining hall table.
I have been to other camps before, but believe me when I tell you; Summer Discovery is definitely my favorite. It gave me a chance to practice being the best that I can be. Although being away from home for 3 weeks was difficult, I was able to grow out of my shell and learn how to become independent in moments where I had to make my own decisions. I was put into situations where I had to take responsibility for my own actions, which taught me many lessons that could be helpful for the future. This experience at UCLA really helped shape who I am today, especially with the help of their campus staff, which was designed to create happy memories and encourage self-expression. We were given the opportunity to show our talents and compete to experience our own successes. Feelings of happiness associated with those opportunities stay with us forever. And through every experience, each student learned a lesson from a full range of emotions and human experiences including friendship, homesickness, teamwork disagreements, frustrations, jubilant success, and more.
But most importantly, this experience helped pave what I want to do in the future. SDUCLA allowed me to take classes in subjects I was interested in, and even allowed me to discover new interests. Prior to taking classes at SDUCLA, I was conflicted about what I wanted to major in. However, by choosing Advertising as one of my classes, I came to realize that it was something that I was interested in and something I could do for the rest of my life. Not only was I able to arrive at that important decision, but taking part in this pre-college summer program enabled me to spend time on a college campus and take courses from college professors. Because of this, I feel like I’m more prepared for the future and have hopes that my transition to college life will be a little bit easier. I now know how college will be and what’s expected of me.
At SDUCLA, there was a whole new pool of people that I got to know. I was able to meet people from all over the world and form meaningful relationships that have lasted beyond the program. I developed bonds with people who were completely different than me and from that, I learned that it’s okay for all of us to have different perspectives and values. Last but not least, I was surrounded by wholesome, friendly Residential Counselors, who I viewed as positive role models. They were always there to help us out in times of need and always made sure that no one felt left out. They were amiable, personable, and are just the kinds of young adults that I hope to be like one day. Summer Discovery, thank you for giving me the best summer of my life.
Written by- Taibah Al-Saqabi