Having an older sibling go through the college application process got me thinking about my next steps after high school. Coming up with what to do for the rest of my life is a big decision. It's a commitment teenagers aren’t usually ready to make. So many different options are available. How am I supposed to know if I will like what I major in? To help figure it all out, I decided to spend my summer taking classes at a pre-college program. And, good news… the experience changed my life!
I had the opportunity to attend UCLA this past summer for three weeks. I was able to pick two different classes. I wanted something that could help me in the future and be fun. I chose marketing and cooking. In the future, I want to pursue a career in real estate, and taking a marketing class might help my success. After taking the course, I realized that a marketing class was my perfect path. It showed me how to ‘brand’ myself and gave me ideas on how to be successful in business. I was so glad that I was able to figure this out before attending college full-time. Taking the class during the summer helped me decide what classes I might want to take during college!
I loved the freedom that we had during the summer pre-college program. After classes, we had the rest of the day free to ourselves. I used that time to hang out with friends. We spent time going to the gym, tanning on the lawn, hanging out with each other in our dorms, or even walking off campus and into the local town. We felt as if we were living as college students. Our favorite activity was having a fun meal at the sushi restaurant we all loved. We went there so often that the restaurant staff got to know us by name! We had lots of meaningful conversations while trying new food. So many great friendship and bonds were formed. Another thing I loved about the program was that they took us on field trips all around Los Angeles. The students visited many tourist places in "The City of Angels." At the end of each day, my roommates and I spent many hours talking and laughing. We created real relationships that will last a lifetime.
There was also another very meaningful benefit I gained from attending a summer pre-college program. Growing up in a small Jewish community can sometimes make you feel like you’re shielded from the larger world. Having grown up in a small Jewish community I wasn’t necessarily exposed to the diversity, cultures, and attitudes of others outside my small "bubble." But that changed the first day I stepped into the UCLA program. Since the students came from all over the world, I learned so much about so many different cultures, religions, and attitudes. It really opened my eyes to a much bigger world than I was used to. I created so many connections with teenagers who grew up much differently than I did. It was so nice to learn about different cultures, ways of life, languages, and even different ways to prepare food! I shared my story and learned about others through conversation and real-life experiences. I made many friends not only from America but also from places around the world, like France, Hong Kong, Brazil, Egypt, and so many other places. Being able to connect with others from all around the world changed my perspective on life.
My memories of the summer pre-college program at UCLA will last forever. I was able to learn and grow so much from the opportunity. Not only did I figure out marketing was a great path for my future career, but I also learned some great cooking skills that I could bring back home and use daily. I also learned so much about different cultures that school sometimes doesn’t teach. Throughout the entire summer, I also learned a few new things about myself, gained a few new skills, and grew as an individual. The program was the highlight of my summer. I highly recommend that everyone look into the opportunity of a summer pre-college program. Hopefully, it will be as meaningful to you as it was for me.
Becky Machlovitz is a BBG living in Boca Raton, Florida and is a competitive dancer!
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
In conjunction with the Coronation of King Charles III, read how Parsha Emor instructs leaders to uphold purity and dedication to constituents.
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