I grew up not knowing how or what college was. I didn’t have any any pre-college programs to help me understand what it was like to attend college. I was basically in the dark of why I should go to college. I mean most of my friends were in this pre-college program called the PEOPLE program, but why wasn’t I in it? Oh yeah, I thought I was too good for it.
Before I graduated from Madison East High School, I desperately wanted to join this program call the Summer Collegiate Experience or otherwise known as SCE. I’m going to be honest with you as well. I wasn’t the smartest student, but I was definitely a hard worker. My friends who were admitted into the University of Wisconsin – Madison had to partake in SCE because they were involved in the PEOPLE program. I wasn’t, so I had to e-mail my way in. Before I knew it, it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.
SCE is a 7-week program that challenges incoming students who are involved in the PEOPLE program, Center for Academic Excellence, and First Wave and have to take a english/literature, math and the once upon a time electives that it used to offer. You take actual courses, live in a dorm and basically live the college life before the other thousand incoming freshman arrive. However, if you fail these courses, it will automatically reflect onto your GPA whether or not you do good or bad.
I went through this program four years ago and to be honest, the first several weeks of it was hell. This was perhaps one of the moments in my life that I felt like crap. The intensity and amount of work was harsh and for the first time in my life, I thought to myself I could not do it. I mean it was extremely difficult. Essays week after week with limited time to do them and 100 vocabulary to memorize each week. It was insane.
Fast forward five years and I find myself giving back to the program. This is the second consecutive year that I’ve been an undergraduate academic fellow and I love it.
I love giving back to the students whether it’s being there for them or giving them a strong support as they make their way through a long 7 weeks. It’s something I enjoy doing because without this program I am not the person I am today. This program showed me that even though I may not be the brightest person in the world, I can do anything if I put my mind to it. It made me who I am today and without it, I don’t think I would’ve survived my freshman year.
What SCE did to me just wasn’t about the academics. It was about the joy, friendships, and connections. This program not only challenges you to do good in your academics, but it connects you to tons of students who are in the same position as you. I’ve never met so many intelligent people in my life until I went to SCE. Many of my friends that I have made today in college were in SCE and for that I am forever grateful to have started my college career with these people.