"We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere", said the legendary Tim McGraw. A quote I would honestly be a little skeptical about at first. I’ve moved around quite a bit and had my share of great friends, but I’ve lost touch with almost every one of them. How are you to keep someone in your heart and thoughts when you haven’t seen them in eons? Before this summer, I wouldn’t have had an answer for that question. But after participating in the Secondary Student Training Program at the University of Iowa, I finally have the answer.
First off, a little background information on the SSTP program. It’s a six weeklong science internship program. We live on the University of Iowa campus for six weeks and immerse ourselves into college life. We attend lab on the weekdays, and have evening activities every night. Then on the weekends, we go on “field trips”. Of course, I had a lot of anxiety about this camp initially. I was terrified of living with complete strangers for six weeks, and also terrified of spending six weeks in a college lab with intelligent professors and students. But after merely the first day, I fell in love with the people. There was a tornado going on in Iowa City on our first day, and so we all piled into the basement and spent the next two hours laughing and bonding over everything and anything. It sounds sappy to say it was love at first sight, but to tell you the truth, it really was. I never thought I could meet a group of such intelligent and out going people. I thought the camp would be full of nerdy perfect ACT scorers, and it was. But there is so much more to these people. They’re captain of the swim team, on speech team, in choir. They have lives outside of school and some of the quirkiest personalities I have ever known.
Family. Most people associate this word with brothers and sisters, parents, and aunts. But I have found a new and refreshing definition of this word, camp friends. In those short six weeks I found a soul mate in each and every one of them. I have been blessed with one family, but this summer I have been blessed with another. No, not your ordinary family of four or five. But a family of 20 people. With their quirks and annoyances. With their different personalities and opinions. I have grown to love these people and really care for them. It's amusing how in six weeks you can become so emotionally attached to each and every person. There were no cliques in this group. Everyone shared a special bond with one another and even when we had our tiffs and disagreements we would always work around them. It is so difficult to describe my love for them with mere words. And even today (two months after the camp) each and every one of them holds a very special place in my heart. Which brings me back to that quote. Even though they all live in different states and they are thousands of miles away, they are always with me. The things they’ve taught me and the friendships I’ve made with them are eternal and will remain in my heart.
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