Stanford University; Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth:
Part 1 of 2: The Academic Experience
This program was not a normal one; nor were the students normal; the program was based on intelligence records taken from tests and records, where students either qualified or failed the standards for the program. Each day was not a regular school day, we stayed in real Stanford University dorms for three weeks and thrived in our own subjects (one choice of class chosen): Writing and Imagination, Science and Engineering, Inductive and Deductive Reasoning, Model United Nations and Advanced Geography, etc.
What I found interesting about the program and residential course was the many diverse cultures and foreign students who came all over the world: South America, Asia, Europe, and, of course, North America, to embark on an ambition several could never afford in other countries. People could call us sane for being entirely engrossed on learning and unfamiliar of the word fun, but believe me, we had more fun than unicorns and angels would littering rainbows and spreading happiness around the world.
It was a tightly packed schedule every day, however; we would wake up every day, with the exception of weekends, 7 a.m. at the latest, and left for breakfast at 7:20. We had until 8:30, where the residential assistants had to have us fed and medications taken by students who needed vitamins and medicines of some sort. It was then a solid eight hours of writing classes for me with the exception of lunch and two ten-minute breaks in between.
My teachers, Derek Gray and Brianna Gross (who shall take full recognition for what I have learned in this program) smashed the advanced writing skills people would have never have learned in public or private schools into our brains with constant essay, story, and poem writing. I also cannot emphasize enough the constant reading of Dutch and French translations and studies of famous poets and writers.
The three weeks were divided into three sections of essays, poems, and short-stories. Poems were continually focused on writing the most creative poems either using abstract ideas rather than concrete ones, viewing things from different perspectives, and leaving the reader with a puzzled expression, but having deep affection for the poem. For example, normally we would relate the words, comforting, warm, and cozy to a blanket, but few would think of the object as paralyzed, binding, and torturing.
Metaphoric and personified skills are also critical skills that bring objects alive and describe normal actions in unique ways enhance interest in stories, poems, and even essays (i.e. Instead of saying, “My teacher’s words hurt my feelings,” You could say, ” My teacher’s cruel words resembled baseball bats that battered at my face repeatedly and sent messages to cloud and twist my mind.” Short stories and essays “are meant to be jump-started,” stated my residential assistant, Charlie Gebhardt, who had numerous series of writing experiences. The statement somewhat perplexed me in the beginning, but I explained to myself that it meant to exercise every detail of my writing to add creativity and specify each features to create a visual picture in the reader’s mind. And write the story in a way that exercises the reader’s mind and requires every wire in the brain to stop just to engross itself in the text.
Every night required my full rest for my mind to inscribe the information into my brain and generate my full strength to learn eager to be a scholar the next day. Each day was intense, but I knew that this program was specifically made for scholars like me.