By: Seonbeom Kim
I gazed outside of the car window at the highway ahead of me, gleaming in the sunlight. The sky was blue. I could not wait to finally arrive home after 6-weeks of Engineering camp. Arduous projects, challenging assignments and exams, and intensive learning have paid off with a long-waited Certificate of Completion, but more importantly, I was returning home with a newfound sense of maturity.
Despite my intense desire to return, there were many things I knew I would miss about camp. The friends I had made, the fascinating lectures, exciting field day trips, late nights working on projects. My experiences were all now embedded into my head, an archive of memorable moments, like radiant stained glass.
During my time at camp, I learned about what it would be like to have an engineering job, and how different factors in mathematics are relevant to almost everything around me. Other than engineering and mathematics, I also learned a great deal about socializing with different people, developing confidence in meeting and interacting with friends and acquaintances who were much older than me. Through interacting with these people, I learned a lot about personal responsibility, which is a mandatory skill for success.
Before camp, I felt as though I was very much a child, reliant on others for motivation, without any personal goals. My experience at camp taught me that overcoming challenges requires patience, ambition and above all, discipline. Realizing this, I pledged to focus on honing these skills.
My thoughts were interrupted by the voice of the navigation: “You have arrived at your destination.” When the front door of my house opened wide, my mother greeted me with a warm bear hug, engulfing me in familiarity, and I was like a bear cub finally reuniting with its mother after a long time. I looked around the house and saw that nothing had changed. Stepping into the living room, I was greeted by my brother with another warm embrace. After a long conversation with my family, I finally approached my room. It had been empty, closed, and unused for six weeks.
As I creaked open the door, I was immediately greeted with a familiar scent. I looked around the room, and everything was right where I had left it—books were neatly stacked, my bed neatly made. On my desk was the gaming setup that I took great pride in. I sat down in front of it and booted it up. Staring at the main screen, I was flooded with an ocean of flashbacks, playing games with my best friends, studying with my friends for exams, having class over zoom for the first time, all from this exact spot. I floated through these memories, struck with a mixture of emotions. I felt nostalgic of the simpler times, fearing what was to come with the future. As the years went by, the memories felt blurrier, like they were beginning to drift away from me. Now that they were almost out of my reach, I couldn’t do anything but stand in utter despair that my childhood would almost be over. But in order to grow, I understood that I only had one option—to accept the past as the past.
I threw myself onto my bed. As I was processing my memories and organizing my thoughts, for the briefest of moments I had the sensation that I was in someone else’s room. Someone distinctly different from me. All those memories before camp were blissful and glowing, but far away, like stars in the night sky. My new memories from camp had allowed a new revelation: I was ready for a new chapter in my life. I’d left for camp ignorant and naive, but returned home with a new sense of self-assurance.
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