An Unforgettable Summer

Write about a memorable/significant experience.

What came first, science or technology?” asked a tall and husky figure, who was dressed in an unbuttoned and rather threadbare lab coat. My initial response was science because I reasoned that technology was the application of science. An articulated voice from the back of the room, however, soon refuted this idea and devised a cogent argument in favor of technology. The professor then formulated a rebuttal to both of these perspectives, and eventually succeeded in placing everyone in a state of quandary. This discussion signaled the advent of the myriad thought-provoking and challenging issues and applications that would arise during the summer I spent at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. Competition for admission into the program was fierce, even fiercer once in the program. Competition of the latter, however, did not exist with one another as it had during the selection process but rather within one’s self. The program held a weekly competition for the science majors in which the professors would present seemingly impossible tasks to be completed within a few hours. On the first few competitions, which included constructing a rubber band powered car out of a few sundry items, I did not fare very well and felt vexed by the restrictions. However, one of my friends helped me learn new ways of tackling problems. He helped me realize that not all materials need to be used. He helped me see that the most obvious idea will not always be the most successful. He helped me start planning before acting. In effect, he helped me crawl out of my suffocating, conventional shell and change my way of thinking.The final competition proved to stretch my mind to its greatest capacity. We were assigned the task of building a boat concocted from some cardboard, two garbage bags, and a roll of duck tape. At first thought, this project did not seem challenging at all, that is, until I discovered that two students would have to sit inside the boat and race across the swimming pool. This competition drew together many of the skills I had acquired during that summer, one of them being teamwork, something I had not learned the true meaning of until that summer. At school, “teamwork” would simply imply breaking the assignment into fragmentary pieces and assigning them to each member of the group. The activities at the program, however, soon expunged that fallacy and showed me that true teamwork requires the collaboration and unification of simultaneous ideas. Each team member would contribute his or her thoughts to every element of the boat. Resourcefulness was another determining factor in this last competition, as only one roll of duck tape would be provided and simply a few hours to build. Everything would need to be planned out meticulously beforehand because, once started, new materials could not be used if construction was botched. Other factors such as creativity, motivation, concentration, and ingenuity, when mixed in the right proportions, would produce a peerless boat, which is exactly what my team accomplished. Not only did I learn from other students, but also from the astute professors. They were some of the best in their profession, with a true passion for teaching and understanding each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I learned to desist accepting formulas and theorems at face value. The professors supplied us with the facts, and we were the ones to go out and research the concepts and proofs behind them. These skills have surfaced rather quickly, such as on the second day of AP BC Calculus, when the teacher asked us to memorize a formula. I, however, first asked for the proof. The other students groaned upon hearing this, but I grinned, knowing that eight months from now, they were the ones who would be cramming this seemingly senseless formula into their head before the AP exam.I could fill an immense number of pages continuing to delineate what I learned that summer, but, if there was one thing to sum up everything, it would be the Rubik’s Cube. When I first encountered this bemusing puzzle, I began by turning the cubes in random configurations, waiting for something to appear. However, I soon discovered that this is exactly where I went wrong-that is, nothing in life simply emerges on its own for you; instead, you have to search for it, sometimes at greater depths than ever before. By the middle of the program, I began to organize my thoughts and preplan so my configurations would make sense. At the beginning of that summer, my mind was fettered inside the cube as I cursorily searched for meanings. Nonetheless, as the summer crept to an end, I learned to organize, revise, concentrate, and not only think ahead, but also think differently. When the program concluded, I knew that I was no longer inside the cube but outside it.

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