In all honesty, when I first came to Drew University, I did not think much of it. Coming from the city I did not make a big deal out of the campus because honestly it looks like a bigger version of Central Park. However, the location of the college rattled me a bit. Hearing that the college was in the middle of a forrest was definitely a bit intimidating. The first thing I noticed when I got here were the trees. Even though lawns can often be found in the city, trees are not. There is something that has always made me avoid forests; the trees always casted and shadow and I never knew what could be lurking in the woods. However, on the actual campus, it feels safe and a bit homey even though it does not resemble my home at all. There was something about the sunlight hitting the lawn which makes me constantly want to lay on the grass or have a picnic. The buildings were also something I really appreciated. As a person who has taken architecture for two years, there is something that old buildings have that all new buildings don’t and that is history. I can’t point it out but there is something much more special about old building than the glass buildings you see in midtown Manhattan. It has a personality and it is something that I could observe all day. It is something about the symmetry and the fact that it is not like every other steel and cement building. The only thing that excited me more that the history was hearing that it was haunted. The more haunted it was, the better because the most haunted things in New York City is the tourists in Time Square.
Another thing that scared the crap out of me was that I did not know what to expect of the people here. I have been at HEAF for six months and have only talked to two people so coming to the middle of a forest with a bunch of strangers only scared me more. However, I must say things did not go the way I expected. I actually became really close with an odd group where each person is just so different from each other but weirdly found some sort of commonality. I also noticed how clique the first two days were. Everyone stayed in the groups they came with on the bus and no one even tried to mix with one another. It was like every highschool movie where there are the quiet people, the overachievers, the comedians, and the athletes. The only thing that tethered us was this trip. But slowly, everyone started integrating and getting along. I must say that there is obviously still a long way to go but now we can all find something we have in common with.
I also did not know what to expect of the mentors and for all I know they could just be a mini-teacher. Part of me thought that they were just going to be an adult who thought that they were superior to us. Maybe that may just be a highschool thing but there is a common theme of upperclassmen thinking that they are superior to freshmen so they just avoid them which is what I expected the mentors to do. But the mentors were oddly …understanding. They were interesting and just as amusing as high school students. More specifically, my mentor and I just clicked. I thought they were going to just be mini adults but to me I just see them as more responsible teenagers who are just simply trying to do the best they can.
My first impression of teachers…well that is a bit more complicated. I started off with Wendy who mostly talked about college and what the general idea of college is. She had to be the most passionate teachers of them all. She definitely knew what she was talking about and she was just trying to experience the college process in a language as simple as possible. I felt terrible because although she seemed like she was putting a lot of effort into the class, she did not receive the same effort back. What can you expect on a Monday morning, right?
Right after that exhausting first period, there was our stereotypical English teacher, Professor Loyd. I cannot exaggerate this enough, he came straight out of a movie. He was so hyper and energetic but all he got in response were sixteen highschool students who looked like they were about to pass out on their desks. I’ll give him credit, that did not stop him from being the cheery english teacher. We analyzed a bunch of quotes and answers from the most unexpected people came up. He also gave us a reading and it may just be me but it went on forever. As someone who does not analyze every line and does not see the point in adding that many adjectives, I skimmed through it because reading can be very frustrating after a while; it’s quite ironic isn’t it. Although, I must say the book is a perfect fit for anyone who likes reading everything in great detail.
Then of course, there was our environmental science teacher who was a kindergarten teacher, She was a little bubble of energy and she definitely got our attention by then. It was hard to fall asleep in that class especially because she was so supportive and so perky.
I wish the day ended there. Each period seemed so long considering that I am used to the typical forty five minute class everyday at school and I was about to rest my head on the table for this class. But in came Sandra Jameson. She did not take crap from anyone in the classroom and collectively woke us up. At that point, the athletes all had their head down and she woke up each and every one of them and did not let anyone take a break during her class. She got straight to the point and had the students do exactly what they wanted to do. I can tell you that I do not know a single thing about that woman but I do know that she is passionate about her job and wants her students to be just as passionate about it in her class.
In conclusion, my experience has definitely been…unique. It has been interesting to find a group of friends that you have weirdly found some sort of commonality with. It has also been weird to get along with adults so well considering that I run in the opposite direction of adults because I find them so intimidating but from this experience I have learned so much about what the college experience is like and from this I found out the best option for me at the moment is going to a liberal arts college. I did not expect to fit in so well but this program has definitely proved me wrong and has only made me more excited for college and readier than ever.