Patrick Andrews spent part of his summer studying Latin in Rome with the University of Dallas.
Why did you decide to participate in an overnight summer program?
I really wanted to study abroad, and the only way to do that in high school is to participate in an overnight summer program.
How did you research summer programs and decide the University of Dallas program studying Latin in Rome was right for you?
The program was suggested to me by my teacher, who knew me well and understood my interests. I think teachers are the best references when researching summer programs. They understand what their students are like and how they can improve, and so they’re capable of finding the perfect fit for their students.
What did you do on the program? What did you learn from participating?
Studying Latin in Rome was the greatest adventure I ever had in my whole life, let alone high school. It happened right in the middle of my high school years, in the summer between my sophomore and junior years. My study of Latin, up to that point, was merely an enjoyable and challenging exercise, and my growing concern for what I was going to do in college and the rest of my life were too often dismissed by those older than me. “That’s a long way from now,” they’d say, and I would wince. My lack of purpose scared me, and I didn’t want to arrive at college unaware both of what I wanted to study and what I wanted to do in general.
The Latin in Rome summer program with the University of Dallas changed all that. Never before in my life had I felt so sure about what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. I wanted to study Latin, and I wanted to study it because of Rome. The Eternal City captured my imagination, and the ancient texts that we read in classes entertained my captive mind. The fantastic readings that we had, selected from the masters of the language, were in some sense the tour guides of the trip: They push me headlong through the advanced grammatical lessons, gave a depth and color to the pale marble structures found around Rome, and taught me ultimately how to see human nature through history, language, and self-discovery.
Additionally, I learned what it meant to be a university student. For the first time in my life, I actually felt responsible: I had roommates to be around, professors to impress, and my laundry to clean. Even though I had fewer external pressures to study than I had ever had before, I acquired the greatest internal desire to study. I finally was taking ownership of my studies, and this responsibility thrilled me.
All in all, it was the crowning jewel of my whole high school life, and it helped me so much in the college application process.
Would you encourage other students to participate in a summer program?
I think almost any high school student would profit from attending an overnight summer program. The experience is excellent preparation for college life and also an opportunity to explore a field that he or she is interested in. In some sense, it’s a really good way to get ahead of the curve a little bit: after such programs students are better prepared to live on their own and more knowledgeable about what they want to study when they do get to college.
How will this summer program affect your life in the future?
It helped me pick what college I want to attend and what major I want to pursue. This fact alone was a huge blessing, dispelling a lot of doubts I had and helping me discover what I really wanted to know about. Also, it’s inspired me with a love for travel. After seeing the wonders of Rome, I can’t wait to return, and I also can’t wait to explore the whole world.