Before coming on the Hull Springs Trip or even arriving at Longwood, I was incredibly nervous about what kinds of people were going to be a part of the program or even what the trip would entail. To my surprise I knew how amazing the relationships were going to become even on the first night. I was still filled with nervous energy as well as uncertainty but I called my mom in hopes she could help calms my nerves. She told me to continue to have an open mind to all the new experiences and relationships I would face. I went to bed that night with a calmer heart. That small piece of advice my mother gave me over the phone was the best thing to help me that week. If I didn’t go into that week open to new things, it would have been a completely different experience.
I woke up the next morning with a new-found excitement and I was ready for the three-hour car ride ahead of me. I can confidently say that throughout that car ride is where I found my strongest relationships, with people in my cohort and the first cohort. These girls were extremely inviting and showed me I had nothing to be nervous about anymore, these girls were going to be there for me for whatever I needed. The mentor system that was set up as a part of the Life STEM program, I believe, is the key aspect of success in the program and those girls are what taught me that. Throughout the entire week we continued to grow in our friendships and our mentor and mentee relationships. As we went through the weeks various activities and I had a question about how to solve a problem or didn’t understand a question, these people were there and ready with an answer. Even as we have started classes and have our own personal schedules we still make time to see each other as much as we can. We text on almost a daily basis and they are still there for me regardless.
The artifact I have attached as a part of this reflection is a picture that the girls and I took on of the first nights we spent together. That night some of us decided we were going to walk to the Yellow House where the mentors were staying that week. As we were walking we saw Hannah and Kelsey driving toward us in the mini van and they picked us up and drove us to the house. We ended up staying at that house for several hours just talking about our lives and past experiences, overall continuing to get to know each other. This picture is now very special to me because it continues to remind me that I already have an amazing group of people around me, way before I even started my freshmen year classes. This summer bridge experience helped prepare me for college in so many ways that I never expected.