The enriching part of enrichment trips

By Jade Wilkinson

One of the benefits of becoming a Dart Scholar is the enrichment activities we enjoy, like the annual educational trips. As a 2015 Dart High School Scholar, I was lucky to experience three summer trips.

In 2016, I attended the week-long "Quantum Learning SuperCamp" at Stanford University in California. There, we learned study strategies and how to manage our time better inside the classroom. We also performed exercises to build confidence and independence outside the classroom. The balance between the two made the camp both productive and fun. By the last day, I became a better student and had grown personally, and I continue to use the skills I learned at SuperCamp in college today.

The following summer, we travelled to the United Kingdom and completed a two-week course in psychology at Oxford University. We spent the first week learning about psychology and the second week running experiments based on the content we had learned. I found this trip helpful because the course summarised the different areas of psychology, leading me to consider choosing this as a major.

For my final summer enrichment trip, we travelled to Canada to explore a range of STEM careers available in waste management and renewable energy. The experiences on this trip and seeing what people actually do in the field helped me understand how different majors can apply to different jobs.

I have to admit, before this trip I did not know what engineers actually did. Several of my teachers had suggested I consider engineering since I like math, but I never knew what kind of work engineers did every day. While I was able to determine that engineering wasn’t a career for me, I did enjoy learning about environmental sustainability and could see a potential career relating to this.

Looking back, I learned valuable tips for school and explored various career opportunities I otherwise may not have had the chance to learn more about. But the lesson that stuck with me the most was about everyday life. Before a big team trust exercise at Stanford, I told my team leader that I was nervous and he said, “Nervousness and excitement are the same thing – it’s all in how you interpret it that counts." I try to remember this anytime I feel butterflies, whether it is at school, on the tennis court or otherwise.

The summer enrichment trips helped me think about what to study and what kind of career I want to have. They also taught me to be more opened-minded. Because of this, I decided to study at Vassar College, a liberal arts school, so that I could keep my options open and study subjects outside of my comfort zone. I’m still deciding my path, but thanks in part to my summer experiences, I am considering majoring in mathematics and statistics and hope to apply what I learn in a career focused on sustainability and the climate crisis.

This article originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of the Camana Bay Times.