By Irene Koo

One of the best three weeks of my life was spent at Stanford University, as a part of the EPGY summer program for high school students. It was academically enriching; the course that I took was Politics and Public Policies, and it was taught by a Stanford Ph. D. candidate. Because the class itself was not for a grade, I was able to thoroughly enjoy it without having to be burdened with the possibility of tests. Although I have taken various classes prior to my experience, this course was special, for it was centered around debates, discussions, and sophisticated, advanced readings. Although I was obliged to rigorous studying, especially during debates and paper-writing, I was studying because I wanted to, not for the sake of grades.

My summer at Stanford was not only academically pivotal, but also unforgettably amazing with the creation of new friends and memories. It was my first experience living in a dormitory with a roommate, and because I was surrounded by peers who shared similar interests and who cared about learning as much as I did, I felt as if I had always been with my newly met friends. One of the reasons why EPGY was so remarkable is that it provided me with opportunities to broaden my scope of understanding through a series of “firsts” – first to live with counselors who are actually Stanford students, first to get locked out of my room, first to have a movie marathon, first to have a room party, and the list goes on. To sum it up, EPGY gave me motivation, inspiration, lasting friendships throughout the states, and an opportunity to grow as an individual.