Discovering College Life as a Highschooler

October 8, 2017
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During the summer between my junior and senior year, I received an amazing opportunity. I was able to attend a summer immersion Chinese program at Kent State University, and I lived on campus in a dorm room. I got an early peak at what college life is like, living with a roommate and being personally responsible, for waking up, and being on time for class all on my own for the first time in my life. Up to this point, I always had relied on my mom. Shifting away from that was a shocking new experience to adjust to: Studying for the daily quizzes and doing my homework, without the nagging of my teachers or parents to get it done. At first this experience was very intimidating, even though I would never admit it. It took a few days to catch on, but once it finally clicked, I enjoyed the newfound freedom. I gained a sense of something greater, a purpose for what I was doing. With this responsibility, I started taking everything to do with the class seriously. For example, while studying at home, I was surrounded by distractions, from music, the TV, to even my dog, however; when studying Chinese, I turned off all music and focused as much as I possibly could on the task in front of me. While at Kent, not only did I learn some Mandarin Chinese, as it had been the original reason for my month long visit, but I also learned time- management skills, and how to study in ways that are effective for me. The Kent program offered much more college experience than any hour long visit and tour possibly could. As a result of my studying, I found that my understanding of Mandarin has improved significantly. At high school, I sparsely put in more effort than was required of me. This led to me knowing most of the information I needed to, but always missing some portion or another. Returning to my highschool, I see how these study habits have changed my whole academic approach entering my senior year.
Chinese had been a subject that has fascinated me since I met an exchange student from China who now is one of my closest friends, Jiahao. The reason I went to Kent was to study Chinese, and the classes there were phenomenal, beyond my expectations. The program was an immersion, so the entire class was taught in the Chinese language itself. On the first day, when the teacher started speaking to us in Chinese, everyone in the class was caught off guard. We all were aware that we were going to be lectured in Mandarin, but there is something strange that comes over you when being addressed in another language that you don't understand. As time went on, I was able to understand more and more. On the first day I was lost. confused, and thought I would never figure it out. I didn’t think that I had made so much progress, until the second to last day. On that day, we had an oral exam. Everyone in the class was distraught over this monster of an exam. With my luck, I managed to end up going first. I nervously, almost on the verge of physically shaking, walked to the lounge. About 20 minutes later, I exited, feeling relieved and astounded. The whole learning experience I received was great and I look forward to regaining this freedom next year in college so that I can develop more skills, for studying and life in general, like those I learned at Kent.






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