Siena Capone spent part of her summer at the Emory University Pre-College Program.
Why did you choose to participate in a summer program?
For three main reasons: to learn something new over the summer, to get a feel for the campus environment where I’m interested in attending college (going from Michigan summer weather to Georgia’s weather is quite a leap!), and to experience life at a renowned academic institution with other people like me who are passionate about learning and bring a diversity of perspectives and experiences to the table.
How did you decide which program or camp was right for you?
My parents and I spent a lot of time online investigating the many summer programs out there. I wanted a summer program that would seriously challenge me as a writer, one that seemed most like a college course. Ultimately I chose Emory University Summer Pre-College Program because the course description really interested me and because I researched the teacher and felt sure he would be amazing. I also wanted a two-week program because it was enough time to really delve into a class, yet not miss too much of my summer with my family.
What was a typical day in your summer program?
Morning always kicked off with a daily Starbucks ritual with my friends. I’d take my S’mores Frappuccino with me to class, where we would start by sharing our writing homework from the day before. We also dug into creative nonfiction writers, from Lawrence Millman’s ventures through the North Atlantic to Joan Didion’s portraits of California dwellers in the 1960s. We spent about three hours every morning in class but it really flew by because the professor was incredibly interesting and engaging.
The afternoons and evenings were usually a mixture of excursions — from unique, fascinating places like the Civil Rights Museum to just fun, vacation-like destinations such as the Atlanta Aquarium and Six Flags. Sometimes we ate lunch or dinner in the dining hall, and other times we walked to fun restaurants near campus or went to the Farmers Market and then to Piedmont Park to relax. When I got back to my room, I’d usually write all evening, maybe take a trip to the library, listen to music, and just hang out with my roommate, who was from China.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer?
Going to Stone Mountain at 5 in the morning. I’ll admit that I groaned when my alarm went off at four. But every moment of hiking up Stone Mountain, from when the world hadn’t quite woken up yet and the stars were still out, to when the sun began to rise, was unforgettable.
What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs or camps?
Look for somewhere you can develop an academic passion in an environment or place that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Whether it be in an entirely different region, the middle of nowhere, or the city, you may find that you love a way of life you never thought you would. You can meet people from all over the world and enjoy becoming immersed in what you love in that place.