Bradley Stoller spent part of his summer in at Cornell University's Summer College program studying the hotel business.
Why did you choose to participate in a summer program?
During my sophomore year of high school, I discovered there was an opportunity to spend 3½ weeks at the esteemed Hotel School as part of the Cornell University’s Summer College program. Considering that hotel administration and business are both fields I wish to study in college, this was a unique chance to delve into topics of genuine interest to me.
How did you decide which program or camp was right for you?
With the campus only 300-plus miles away from our Boston home, I realized this could be doable logistically. Online, I conducted research on courses I might want to take and read testimonials from past Cornell Summer College students.
I ultimately chose Cornell for many reasons, the first being that my father graduated from Cornell. Realizing I could get a little taste of what his college life might have been like seemed pretty incredible! Second, Cornell’s Hotel School reputation speaks for itself. But knowing I would have a chance to take classes from actual professors had me counting down the days until Summer College began.
What was a typical day in your summer program?
I woke up at 7 a.m., got dressed, and met a friend for breakfast at 7:30. (We’re still in regular touch and likely will be for life!) After a short five-minute bus ride, or a walk to get some exercise, we would arrive at our classroom at approximately 8:10.
After classes began at 8:30, we had the opportunity to study the worldwide hotel industry. We broke for lunch at around 11:30 and made our way to the Trillium Café, a popular lunch spot. After lunch, we were back in the classroom for the afternoon sessions. At approximately 4 p.m., we were finished with classes and had the rest of the day to ourselves. At that point, I would scurry off to the nearest library and finish any work I had to complete for the following day.
The early evening was always my favorite: hanging out. There is nothing more comforting than knowing, in good days and bad, you always have a group of friends saving a seat for you at the dinner table. … At night, we’d play pool, cards or just talk about our days within our eight-person group, most of whom were taking completely different classes.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer?
On our last night, our group decided we would celebrate our summer graduation by having a fancy dinner in downtown Ithaca. As we sat around the table all dressed up, we told each person individually why we thought they were so special. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to wrap up my time at Cornell.
What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs or camps?
Don’t be intimidated by Cornell’s reputation for rigor. At first blush, I was honestly scared I wouldn’t be able to handle the work at an Ivy League school. But, the phrase “hard work pays off” proved to be completely true for me, as I’m sure it will be for you! Push yourself, embrace the challenge, and put in the time, and then some. I promise you will make lifelong friends, discover interests you didn’t even know you had, and learn what it is like to be college student.