Saturday, August 10, 2013

Forming Bonds and Surpassing Expectations

By Xavier Husser (New York, NY)

The moment I was accepted to the Princeton Summer Journalism Program I knew that I was diving into an exotic, foreign world. My teachers, counselors, principal, family members, and even strangers were congratulating me nonstop for months after getting past the first round. Months before the program began I was worried about whom I would see at the program, if I could have fun with such a rigid schedule, and how people would react. Honestly I was not that interested in journalism and never thought about restarting the Cristo Rey school paper; however after getting through the first round and finishing the interview I told myself “Holy crap, I can do this.” 

When school ended, my job gave me an internship, and I had homework to do for English and History; I knew the time was drawing near but it still seemed a million miles away. Trying to preoccupy my time with work, Macbeth, exercise, and late nights writing a short story, I didn’t even pack my bag until the week before we left. I was preparing to venture into an unknown world of Ivy League schools and using my intelligence, charm, and award winning smile to win the hearts of everyone on campus. 

As soon as I got on the campus, the reality was better than the fantasy. Expecting to be surrounded by competitive journalists like it is on television, I was glad to meet minority students from not just different cities but different ethnic groups. The motley of African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Arab students resembled a reception at the United Nation; however, with less political infighting. Conversing with intellectual but “real” students, the promotion of debating with students and on occasions counselors (from different hip hop artists to national security), and interviewing strangers only the second night. The SJP challenges students to get out of their comfort zones, mentally challenges students to strive for the best, and spiritually forms bonds from all walks of life. 

After three days in the program I’ve formed bonds with students that’ll last far longer than after the program ends. The counselors, students, and excitement makes the program so engaging to the point I wish it was for an entire month. I’ve gained a stronger interested in history, journalism, and story telling and the confidence to apply to the most prestigious universities such as Princeton and Brown. As the program continues to sate my quest for knowledge and the truth I believe now that “Holy crap, I can do this.”

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