The Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop in Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 30, 2017

There’s summer camp, and then there is pre-college camp, which is what I was fortunate enough to participate in during the early summer. As a person who loves writing, mental challenges, and air conditioning, being accepted into the Kenyon Review Young Writer’s Workshop was better than discovering $50 in my wallet.

For two weeks I was immersed in a writer’s haven in the rolling hills of Gambier, Ohio, at Kenyon College. Gambier is a nine-hour drive from my home in New York, and, as was noted in my 13-person Kenyon workshop, it can be defined in three words: “Cornfields and cows.”

But these two weeks exceeded my expectations. I did, however wonder whether this was the college environment for me. Would I prefer a more urban setting? Would I be happy this far from home?


In addition to the social experiences and recreational itineraries, pre-college summer programs provide the valuable opportunity to explore a college campus, focus on a field of personal interest, meet students from all over the country, and live in a dorm away from home, a pre-curser to college life.

Many pre-college programs provide great depth on a subject. At Kenyon, we were immersed in workshops five hours a day. We read a variety of poetry, from Bob Hicok (1960- ) to Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). Every day we were also given a prompt and once the teacher yelled, “Go,” we had 30 minutes to carve out worthy prose.

While I learned more deeply about a field I’m considering pursuing, I also experienced the social advantages these programs provide. I enhanced my own perspectives while meeting people whose lives are very different from my own. My roommate was from Seattle, and I now have friends in L.A. and Taiwan. Late-night chats with my roommate, a swimming excursion at the college’s athletic center, planned activities, group activities, free time, sightseeing, and fast friendships all lightened the long workday. I went on walks and explored Kenyon’s picturesque, medieval layout. I found out that this college was considered as the Harry Potter filming site because of Pierce, the bewitchingly beautiful dining center that resembles Hogwart’s Great Hall.

When I returned, I was enriched with memories, information, and the soul-soothing nature of a vacation experienced in rich, 24-hour cycles. 


My advice to other high school students: Explore the summer college programs out there. Find a topic that interests you, a part of the country you’d like to see, a college you might be considering. You could be a Google search away from the summer of your dreams.

While enjoying a program that indulges your interests and allows you to meet others who share those interests, you just might find the college best suited for life after high school. I discovered that my experience offered inspiration, laughs with friends, writerly frustration (and progress!), many memories, and two weeks that passed by in a second.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 9:59 pm
i love this !
Site Feedback