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For New Students: Make the most of your summers

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The past three months have been a whirlwind of a summer, of one unexpected opportunity after another. Between seeing “Hamilton” on Broadway (!), mentoring ten Kenosha high schoolers, and writing prose, poetry and correspondence for a research project with my professor, this summer became more enriching than I could have predicted.

By taking a J-term in June course that, yes, I admit, checked off my fine arts and Carthage symposium graduation requirements, I also had the incredible opportunity to spend two weeks in the creative hub that is New York City. I had the chance to see 13 Broadway productions, tour countless museums and landmarks and develop friendships with fellow Carthage students, most of whom I had never met before this class. J-term trips are an amazing way to cross paths with people whose majors may differ but who still share common interests.

Making new connections was also an effect of the Humanities Citizenship Initiative, which allowed a group of rising high school seniors to take a college-level course during July. Two professors led the three-week version of Western Heritage, and four Carthage students worked with the students as tutors to help bolster their critical thinking, discussion and writing skills. More than that, the program aimed to show these students that college really could be a part of their future if they wanted it to be.

Across all three months, I was reading, researching and producing a chapbook-length series of pieces for a summer creative writing project, and staying in touch with my professor for feedback and correspondence. Actually, calling it a “summer” project may be limiting. With the resources and support my professor has given me, I will be able to continue expanding the project, growing as a writer along the way.

At the beginning of my first year at Carthage—at the beginning of my third year at Carthage, even—I had no idea this is the way I would spend summer 2016. Something about opportunities that aren’t what we expect has the power to make them that much more fulfilling, and for me, this summer was no different.

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