Rhythm & Views by Cassie Pociask

A Collegiate Experience

Around February last year, a recruiter, Marc Stridiron, came to our school to speak about a summer school called Junior Statesmen.

“Summer school,” I thought, “why would I want to spend my summer taking A.P. classes and stressing even more about school?”

Luckily, I got over doing extra work and decided that I would attend Georgetown University, where I would take classes on the American Presidency and Congres-sional workshop. It was not only the knowledge I gained over the summer that I cherish so much, but it is also the people and experiences I had while at the summer school.

Georgetown, a college of high educational merit, was my playground for the summer. I was able to use the libraries, sit on the lawn with my friends, and study in the student union. It was an excellent opportunity to better prepare myself for what college may be like.

I feel like I have a better understanding of time management and study skills. I also have added Georgetown to my college list, not only because it is an excellent school, but also because I love the area.

Preparedness Learned
I feel like if more students chose a summer program, they would be better prepared and would know what to expect when they got to college. Students would also be able to choose a school that was well matched to each student’s individual personalities. How do you know if you want to be in a rural or city area if you have never experienced it?

Of course it is expected that the work was difficult. It was a college level course, which means college level work and college level professors. My professor, Dr. Martin Sheffer, was like no person I have met before — a man who thought that students calling him Dr. Sheffer would be arrogant, so he urged us to refer to him as Marty. He was by far one of the best parts of summer school.

He cared about his students and about government, which made all of us want to thrive in his course. He was not afraid of giving us the harsh truth of today’s realities, which was quite refreshing, having an adult talk to students like adults instead of mere children.

Between difficult courses and staying up until midnight to finish essays and studying, I even had the opportunity to have some fun.

We were divided into floors in the dorms, and these girls were the most amazing group. Every night we had floor meetings, which were only supposed to be 15 minutes maximum, but somehow they always ended up being an hour. Our RA would do room checks and end up hanging out with us for a while and just talking about our day and cool bands we should check out.

The people you meet at these summer schools are real people who could possibly become some of the best friends you have ever had. Other than socializing in the dorms, we were even allowed to go out and explore Washington, D.C. We would go shopping, visit Congress, and sit in on Legislation. It was amazing.

Places that most people will never get to go, we were there. Political participants that are hard to meet, we met. It is incredible how many connections you attain as a Junior Statesmen. I will never forget all the people I met, and all the experiences I had.   

High school is a great time to broaden your horizons, learn about new things, and develop your interests. It would be a proactive choice to find some type of program to join during the summer. College admissions are constantly telling students to spend their time wisely during the summers.

Programs such as the Junior Statesmen summer school look excellent on college resumés. Simply going to www.google.com and typing in “summer programs” is a good way for finding a summer program to attend.

It is best to start looking now; so fundraising opportunities do not pass you by. Summer schools can be expensive, but finding sponsors is easy, and doing a couple of bake sales is not that complicated.

Instead of sitting on the couch all summer, get out and do something. From volunteering for the local hospital to going to Washington, D.C. and exploring our government, get involved, and get started now.