After a rigorous application process, I received the email I was waiting for. “Congratulations, you have been accepted to the Duke Summer Academy for highschool students.” I couldn’t believe it. Among so many of students, I was selected to attend a four week program for high school students to live on campus and experience residential life while taking classes and exploring the universities cutting edge facilities.
Upon arriving at Duke, I moved into my dorm room and met my roommate. At this time there were about 300 other students from all around the world moving into what would become our home for the next 4 weeks.
The first week, we toured Duke’s campus while completing activities in small groups.We visited several places including Duke Farms,DiVE lab,Co-Lab,Life Flight, Hyperbaric lab, viventi lab and the Duke Lemur Center.
Since I attended the technology entrepreneur course our assignment was develop a product of our choice that related to technology. My group worked on a product that would help medical students practice surgery using augmented reality. On weekdays we worked in groups to develop our product which we then pitched in a competition at the end of the program. The libraries and other resources were open to us for our use. This project further peaked my interest in technological entrepreneurship. It also taught me the importance of technology, and the ability to be able to work in a group with people who have diverse backgrounds and skill sets.
After class we had the opportunity to participate in a variety of clubs. We could do anything from arts and crafts, to photography, to hiking, and even cooking. During these times I had the opportunity to meet new people from around the world and develop new connections .
Several times a week we would go on activities with those who lived in out residence hall. We would go off campus and explore more around the university. My group would go to the mall, or to a farmers market, or go out for shaved ice and more. This was a great opportunity for me to further develop the friendships I had already made within my RA group and get to know the community outside of Duke.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner we had access to a variety of dining options on campus. Duke has one of the most innovative and dynamic dining programs in the country. Some options included Indian food,Italian food, Chinese food, Korean food and so much more.
Leaving the program was surprisingly harder than any of us would have expected. Living and working together for a month made the bonds that we developed harder to break. The night before departure we spent time together reminiscing on all that we had learned. As it got later we wished each other farwell. I still keep in contact with the people I met. I didn’t expect to create such strong friendships in the short time that I was there. But I knew as I was leaving that I developed friendships that would last.