I would like to apologize for my recent absence. I actually dislocated my shoulder for the second time in three weeks and it occurred at Vanderbilt.
In speaking on the first week of the VSA program, I must look back and remember the giants I’ve conquered. A new school, new teachers, new friends, new habitat, being alone, learning to deal with other people, these are all just some of the things I’ve learned to overcome this week.
The Vanderbilt Summer Academy has allowed me a college experience within a controlled environment, allowing me to be able to push myself without fear of failure. This idea is huge at VSA. For example, it’s okay to ask crazy questions in World Religions to understand a concept or to make an assumption based on evidence you may not fully understand. It’s okay to attend the “come as you aren’t mixer” as a “Lax it Bro,” or even a girl and still dance the night away, and it’s okay to stack patties on your burger, or put cheese on your hot dog at the Commons lunch line without being criticized or scrutinized.
I feel as though the staff and students at Vanderbilt are a clear window into the social life at the University. During school they didn’t even know each other. Some students just completed their first year of college while others are beginning to think about their Senior Thesis and their Graduate education, but you would think they all went to school with each other for years by the way they interface and work together united in their institution for higher learning.
When I injured myself on Wednesday, they surprised me by acting immediately instead of looking at my shoulder in amazement. They took care of everything like driving me to Children’s Hospital, transferring my medical information, personally holding my arm in place, and staying with me and Ms. Bulls while my shoulder was prepared. They continue to go above and beyond making sure I take my medication and that I’m wearing my sling. Within the controlled environment we still bear the privileges and responsibility of college students.
We have opportunities to go tour the beautiful sites in the Music City, to go and see the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie, to wake up early and utilize the campus recreation center, we can visit campus cafés for coffee, we can choose various activities from sports to knitting to do during our recreation period, we are able to explore the surroundng community during sign out periods, and we also have the chance to take interesting classes to learn new things like fencing or how to step. At the same time we must get up early enough for us to maintain our hygiene and get to class on time, we are expected to clean up our own messes from our rooms to the cafeteria, and we must conduct ourselves in the highest manner on and off campus.
This first week was truly eventful, full of both victory and defeat, with a little pain added in, Most of all we learned a lot this week and learning is most important both in and out of the classroom because the more knowledge one can accumulate the more power they possess. Next week is a just a few days away now and there is no telling what it will hold in store. It’s great to know I have God, family, friends, the ILC, and VSA behind me for support. So in the words of Harry Potter, “Lets finish this how we started,” strong.